Sunday, February 20

Egypt's military regime moves against strikes

Reuters reported on 19 February: "Egypt's military this weekend warned workers using their new-found freedom to protest over pay that strikes must stop, in a move that businessmen said on Saturday could have come sooner.

Workers cite a series of grievances. What unites them is a new sense of being able to speak out in the post-Mubarak era.

Under pressure from activists to speed up the pace of reform by lifting emergency law and freeing political prisoners, the military had adopted a softly-softly approach since taking over but is now saying labor unrest threatens national security.

The state of emergency should be lifted within six months, the official told state media.

The military issued the order, effectively banning strikes and industrial action, after millions celebrated across Egypt with fireworks, dancing and music to mark a week since Mubarak stepped down after 30 years.

"Though this statement should have come way earlier, I think the army was just allowing people to take their chance to voice their demands and enjoy the spirit of freedom," said Walid Abdel-Sattar, a power industry executive, said on Saturday.

"It's Not The Time For It," said Saturday's banner headline in the state-owned Akhbar Elyom newspaper, urging the nation to end work stoppages which it said were paralyzing the economy and losing Egypt revenue.

Banks, which have been closed this week because of strikes that have disrupted business, are due to open on Sunday, the first day of the working week in Egypt. The military believes this is an important step toward restoring normality...

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