Negotiations between Minister of Manpower Kamal Abu Eita and aggrieved workers who were laid off by various companies ended with Abu Eita promising to send their demands to the Cabinet by fax.
Ragab El-Sheemy, a worker at the Shebeen Spinning and Weaving Company, said the minister also promised the workers they would be given EGP 500 a month until their problem is resolved and that they would receive the money from the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF).
El-Sheemy said some workers went to ETUF, but were told that they would not be given the money. They were told to go to the ministry for the money, which it should pay from its emergency funds.
Workers from 10 companies, including the aforementioned and Petrojet (Petroleum Projects and Technical Consultations) companies held a protest outside the ministry’s headquarters in Nasr City on Sunday. They were planning to hold a sit-in but decided to leave after negotiations ended. They had two main demands: that they be reinstated to their positions, and if this is not possible, they receive salaries until they return to employment.
The negotiations started Sunday afternoon and lasted nearly five hours.
Dalia Moussa, who handles labour issues at the Egyptian Centre for Social and Economic Rights (ECESR), said the workers were feeling very frustrated with the meeting.
ECESR has shown solidarity and support to the workers who were laid off from 10 public and private companies.
Workers from Petrojet have repeatedly protested in the past few months outside the Presidential Palace, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, their company and the Cabinet, demanding contracts from their employers.
Moussa said on Sunday that Abu Eita, at first, did not come down to the workers to see what their demands were, but after pressure, he agreed to negotiate with two workers from each company. Renowned lawyer Khaled Ali, who represents many of the workers, took part in the negotiations on behalf of the workers.
The ministry did not get back to the Daily News Egypt for comment.