By Rawan Ezzat
A sit-in organised by employees at Kabo El-Nasr Clothing Textile Company in Alexandria has entered its sixth day in a row. The protesting workers are demanding their salaries for the month of May which are owed from the company but have so far not been paid.
On Monday, employees representing the protesting workers travelled to Cairo to meet and file a complaint with Minister of Manpower Khaled Al-Azhari who assured them they will receive their wages, according to Susanne Nada, a lawyer from the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR).
Nada said the ministry is usually biased towards company owners, and does not generally support labour workers. The ministry advised Kabo workers to sign a contract that states they will receive their wages as long as they would not protest, she added.
“When they returned to ask for their wages with a signed contract from the ministry, Mohammed Saad (the accountant) refused,” says Nada.
Employees were outraged, Nada explained, especially amid rumours that the company’s owner will sell the company by the end of May.
“We have worked the full month of May, and we are not asking for a raise; just the wages we deserve,” said Nagah Abdel Hamid, an employee who participated in the sit-in.
Company officials stated the manager could no longer support the factory, and has no option except to sell the company, stated Abdel Hamid. Employees were promised that a job will be waiting for the laid off workers in Ghazl El-Amrania Company in Alexandria, which also faces labour problems.
“Promising us work is definitely a rumour to calm us down, but even if it’s true, it is not possible as El-Amrania is too far from our home,” says Abdel Hamid.
The sit-in began on 22 May and has so far lasted six days. Workers also staged a protest on Wednesday in Sidi Gaber which resulted in minor clashes between protesters and police and the protest being quickly dispersed, according to Nada.
Company representatives could not be reached for comment.