CAIRO: In what an NGO describes as a “historic” verdict, three managers from the Tanta Flax and Oils Company have been sentenced to two years imprisonment for dismissing employees arbitrarily, among other charges.
In April, the attorney general charged company director Abdellah El-Ka’aky, commissioner-general Mohamed El-Seehy and general manager Mohsen El-Ayyat with dismissing employees arbitrarily and, failing to pay salaries and obstructing production.
The Tanta misdemeanors court on Wednesday sentenced the three men to two years in prison and a fine of LE 100 each.
According to Adel Zakaria of the Center for Trade Union and Workers Services (CTUWS), the men will appeal the verdict and will remain at liberty until the court hears the appeal. El-Ka’aky, however, has returned to his native Saudi Arabia.
CTUWS says that this is El-Ayyat’s second conviction for offences related to the Tanta Flax company. In May he was convicted of squandering insurance funds. The company had deducted the workers’ contribution to the social insurance fund from their salaries but didn’t transfer the money to the Gharbeya Social Insurance Authority. In response, the authority filed the lawsuit against the company.
Tanta workers have staged a series of industrial actions since the company’s privatization in 2005 over unpaid financial entitlements and alleged unfair dismissals.
In February, they staged a 15-day sit-in outside Cairo’s cabinet office for six demands. Following mediation by the manpower ministry, the sit-in ended with an offer of an early retirement package of LE 40,000 and a sum the equivalent of two months’ wages.
Al-Ahram subsequently reported that over 400 workers had opted to take early retirement, but the failure of workers’ to receive these payouts prompted them to again protest in Cairo.