Hundreds of Egyptian workers in different industrial sectors are taking to the streets, courts, and protesting in factories, to demonstrate anger at working conditions and insufficient payment.
Although oppressed legally by law and pro government syndicates and management, alongside a physically heavy security presence, organised labour is still fighting for its rights, amid an obvious tendency by the current government to adopt more neo-liberal policies.
However, in more of a parallel world to Cairo and the country’s main cities, lies Minya’s limestone quarries, in which tens of unlicenced, overworked, underpaid workers ply their trade. They strive to cut limestone pits, using sharp blades, not to mention sucking pillars of dust into their lungs.
Although the government intervenes to control the quarries, through the administrative bodies of the governorate and the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration, it has not so far provided sufficient health care, security, or safe work conditions to the workers.
Marginalised in the mountains of Minya, away from the air conditioned Cairo based offices of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation, the majority of workers, stripped of other alternatives of labour, are not officially recognised by the government.
The photos are an attempt to document a day of those workers.
All photos by Mohamed Hakim
Text by Adham Youssef