Mahalla factory workers reject company offer, continue sit-in

Sarah Carr
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Workers from the Ghazl El-Mahalla spinning factory have rejected an offer made by company management and the head of the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions (EFTU) and vowed to continue the sit-in they began Sunday in protest at the transfer of five of them to different departments within the factory.

The workers and some of their children spent Sunday night sleeping in the lobby of the EFTU building.

A total of five workers have been transferred from the company’s Mahalla factory.

Amal Said and Wedad El-Demardesh were transferred to the company’s nurseries while Karim El-Beheiry, Mohamed El-Attar and Wael Habib have been moved to the company’s Cairo office.

Workers Monday rejected an offer made during three-hour negotiations with Hussein El-Meghawer in the EFTU headquarters. The negotiations were attended by Said El-Gohary, head of the Ghazl El-Mahalla state-controlled trade union.

“We demanded the reversal of the transfer orders, a stop to the issuing of fresh reversal orders in the future and the halting of disciplinary investigations which are currently being carried out with 180 workers in the factory, El-Attar told Daily News Egypt.

“El- Meghawer told us that he doesn’t have the power to fix the problem with the speed which we are demanding, and that all he can do is give us a payment because of the economic conditions we are suffering and that after that negotiations will begin with Mohsen Jelany, head of the Ghazl El-Mahalla holding company and Fouad Hassan.

“After the meeting we consulted Mahalla workers about the offer and 99 percent of them said that they wished to continue the sit-in. We came here on the principle that we would either leave with the reversal of the transfer decision or sit here for months, El-Attar continued.

Fouad Hassan, the company’s executive manager whose removal workers called for in the Oct. 31 protest, did not attend the negotiations.

Meanwhile, five workers from the Tanta Linen Company who were sacked after a July protest inside the company ended the sit-in they began in EFTU at the same time as the Mahalla workers.

During the July protest, workers demanded the payment of a meal allowance and profit shares which they say haven’t been paid for three years.

“It was agreed that we will receive salaries but not return to work until the court issues its verdict in the case we have raised against the sacking, Gamal Othman, one of the sacked workers, told Daily News Egypt.

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Sarah Carr is a British-Egyptian journalist in Cairo. She blogs at
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