CAIRO: Four workers at the Indorama textiles factory in Shibeen El-Kom, Menufiya, are being transferred to the company’s Alexandria warehouse.
Workers allege the decision is a punitive measure taken in response to an 11-day strike at the factory in March.
“Management claims that they’re doing this because they need the manpower in the warehouse. However, all the workers being transferred were involved in the strike, Indorama employee Ihab Shalaby explained.
Indorama’s administrative manager Emad Abdel-Khaleq confirmed that the transfer is a disciplinary measure. But the decision, he added, also corresponds to human resources shortage at the Alexandria warehouse.
According to Shalaby, the transferred workers should go to Alexandria on Saturday.
They, however, will not be provided with transport or accommodation, he added.
Alexandria is approximately 150 km from Shibeen El-Kom.
Workers launched a strike in the early hours of Monday morning to protest the decision. The strike was called off at 10:30 am on Wednesday while negotiations continue.
“Negotiations between management, the manpower ministry and the trade union are ongoing. The company trade union committee however has resigned in protest at the way negotiations are progressing, Shalaby said.
However, Abdel-Khaleq gives a different version of events.
He says that workers went on strike against a police inquiry launched against a worker alleged to have deliberately destroyed a punch card machine that logs working hours.
“Why would you stand in solidarity with a colleague who destroyed something in the factory? That’s your money too, Abdel-Khaleq commented.
The administrative manager says that the four workers being transferred are being sent to Alexandria both because of a need for staff in the company warehouse, and as a disciplinary measure.
He says that the four workers were “creating unrest in the factory and encouraging other workers to strike.
“The manager in Alexandria told us that he needed people so we sent these four. Why them in particular? Because they re in the wrong and troublemakers.
Daily News Egypt asked Abdel-Khaleq whether Indorama workers have the right to strike.
“Of course they don t. They can t strike without reason like this. There are administrative channels to resolve problems. You can t stop a factory of 3,000 workers just for four people who are well-known troublemakers, and who are turning everything upside down with their trouble-making, Abdel-Khaleq said.
Asked why Indorama does not terminate their employment if the company believes these workers have committed transgressions, Abdel Khaliq said, “We don t want to do that. The transfer is meant to teach them a lesson, to make them understand that they ve done something wrong.
He would neither confirm nor deny whether the transfers are permanent.