CAIRO: Some 100 workers from the Strow Misr company and their children gathered on Sunday in Dokki, Cairo, protesting the failure of the company’s management to pay them for over 15 months.
The protest was held outside the office of former Egyptian Prime Minister and Strow Misr executive director, Ali Lotfy, to coincide with a general assembly meeting.
Strow Misr – located in 10th of Ramadan City and which was put into liquidation in March 2007 – was the only factory in the Middle East producing Citric Acid, used in foodstuffs and carbonated drinks such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola.
“Management told us in December 2006 that the company was making losses and that they were considering putting it into liquidation, Medhat Mohamed, a Strow Misr employee who joined the company in the late 1980s told Daily News Egypt.
The decision to put the company into liquidation was announced in March 2007.
Mohamed says that the factory’s 247 workers have not been paid salaries, or received any sort of redundancy compensation, since the company’s liquidation in 2007.
“How the only company in the Arab region producing such a vital ingredient can make a loss is baffling: even if we worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week we would never fulfil the Coca-Cola order alone.
“The only explanation is that the factory was mismanaged, but this isn’t a matter which concerns us. If they want to put the company into liquidation, fine – but give us what is rightfully ours, Mohamed continued.
He alleges that senior management are benefiting from the protracted process of liquidation.
“About 15 or 20 members of senior management continue to receive salaries while factory floor workers are getting nothing, Mohamed told Daily News Egypt.
Talks between company management and workers ended Sunday with a promise from Lotfy that workers would receive the payments they are entitled to on Aug. 15, 2008.
“This isn’t the first time we have received such promises but we’ll wait until August, see what happens, and act accordingly, Mohamed said.