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Egypt: security detains Ghazl El Mahalla workers cause of their Strike, and management issues dismissal warnings for them.

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Press release

Geneva – March 6, 2024


In a concerning development, the National Security in Gharbia, Egypt, has reportedly detained at least five employees of the renowned textile company Ghazl El-Mahalla, despite the workers’ decision to disperse their Strike on February 29, 2024. The employees initiated the Strike to demand the implementation of the minimum wage.

Among those detained are Wael Abu Zuwayed and Mohamed Mahmoud Tolba, currently held at the National Security headquarters in Tanta. They join three other workers, Sabah Ali al-Qattan, Muhammad al-Attar, and Abdel Hamid Abu Amna, who have also been detained.

Wael Abu Zuwayed was brought before the State Security Prosecution in Cairo, where a decision was made to detain him in pretrial custody for 15 days. He faces accusations under Case No. 717 of 2024 (Supreme State Security), including charges of joining a group formed in violation of the law and disseminating false information.

In a controversial move, Ghazl El Mahalla’s management issued dismissal warnings on March 4 for the detained workers, Wael Muhammad Abu Zuwayed and Muhammad Mahmoud Tolba. The company alleges their absence from work for ten days, conveniently ignoring that it occurred following their detention by National Security.

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) has condemned the detentions, asserting that the Strike is a “spontaneous” reaction to Egypt’s economic challenges and financial policy confusion. CFJ emphasizes the need for constructive dialogue and realistic solutions to address the legitimate demands of the workers instead of resorting to repression and intimidation.

CFJ expresses solidarity with the detained workers and urges Egyptian authorities to release them promptly and unconditionally. Furthermore, the committee calls for ending the general security handling of labor strikes. It demands a halt to the dismissal warnings issued by Ghazl El Mahalla’s management against the detained workers.

CFJ also appeals to the Egyptian authorities to cease the “unjustified” escalation against Ghazl El-Mahalla workers and advocates for supporting their pursuit of financial rights to safeguard one of Egypt’s crucial industrial strongholds.

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