CAIRO: Four workers from the Indorama textiles factory presented complaints to the Ministry of Manpower yesterday about what they allege are “illegal transfer orders issued against them.
Ragab El-Shimy, Abdel Aziz Bokhotro, Moussa Naggar and Fadel Abdel Fadeel were transferred to Indorama’s warehouse in Alexandria from the company’s Shebeen El-Kom, Menufiya factory after the orders were issued at the beginning of this month.
Ahmed Ezzat, a lawyer with the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, explained that the orders violate the labor law.
“These workers work in production and the nature of the work they are doing in the warehouse is very different, Ezzat told Daily News Egypt.
“In addition, workers may only be transferred for a temporary period of time under the labor law, and the transfer must not compromise any of the workers’ rights. The transfer orders issued against the workers are open-ended and workers are not receiving any kind of financial compensation for the costs of travel and accommodation.
“There is also a vast difference between the salary of a production worker – who is entitled to incentive payments and a share of the profits – and that of a warehouse employee.
During yesterday s meeting with Nahed El-Ashry, head of the Ministry of Manpower s department for collective negotiations, workers handed in a complaint demanding that the transfer order be rescinded.
According to Ezzet, El-Ashry initially objected to the presence in the meeting of Indorama workers other than the four directly concerned. She then reportedly informed them that the Ministry is trying to convince Indorama management to cancel the transfer orders.
Workers contend that the transfer orders are a punitive measure, taken against them because of their role in an 11-day strike at the factory in March.
Indorama administrative manager Emad Abdel-Khaleq told Daily News Egypt earlier this month that the four workers were “creating unrest .
Abdel-Khaleq said that more workers were needed in the company s Alexandria warehouse and that these particular workers were sent “in order to teach them a lesson .
Ezzet, however, cites the Indorama transfers as part of a wider policy taken by textiles companies against labor activist employees.
“This is an attempt to force out these four workers because they played a leading role in the March strike, Ezzet said.
“Other textiles companies have started pursuing this policy: five labor leaders from the Ghazl El-Mahalla spinning factory were also transferred last year.