CAIRO: Protesting workers ended their 15-day sit-in on Tuesday, after accepting an offer made by the manpower ministry.
Worker Hisham El-Okal from the Tanta Flax and Oils Company told Daily News Egypt that manpower ministry representative, Wael Allam, came to the sit-in outside the Cabinet office on Tuesday afternoon and offered workers an early retirement package of LE 40,000 and a sum the equivalent of two months’ wages.
El-Okal said he was disappointed by the offer and said that he suspected the ministry “would fool workers again.
Workers in the privatized company began their strike on Feb. 8, 2010 for six demands, including the reinstatement of nine workers who they say were unfairly dismissed; payment of an annual pay raise amounting to 7 percent and increase of the meal allowance from LE 32 to LE 90.
Government mouthpiece Al-Ahram reported yesterday that workers wishing to accept the voluntary early retirement offer would be able to do so from March.
Worker Gamal Othman told Daily News Egypt that workers have been paid January’s wages and are waiting for February’s wages, which Al-Ahram says will be paid “in the coming days.
“If we had held out we would have gotten a better deal . but people got tired. They’ve had enough, Othman said.
Othman says he is unsure how many exactly of the 850 workers will opt for early retirement, nor what will happen to the factory if the majority of the workforce takes up the offer.
“The Saudi investor [Abdellah El-Ka’aky] might replace us with temporary contract workers, or he might dismantle the factory’s machinery and sell it . or sell the whole factory and its land, Othman continued.
Abdel-Hady is quoted as saying in Al-Ahram that the investor is forbidden from selling the company’s land in the event of him dissolving the company. The minister adds that the ministry “is in constant contact with the Saudi ambassador and company management in order to reach a solution to the crisis.
On Tuesday there were angry scenes in Parliament during discussion of the Tanta Flax case when verbal exchanges between Muslim Brotherhood MPs and National Democratic Party member and former goalkeeper Ahmed Shobeir escalated, resulting in Shobeir having to be physically restrained.