Egyptian workers burn themselves to protest transfers

21/01/2011
A security source said two Egyptian employees of Textile Indroma set themselves on fire Thursday, protesting management’s decision to transfer them to other departments.

The workers were transferred to a hospital in Monufiya Governorate in critical condition, according to the source.

Technician Mostafa Abdul Hamid Makshat, 55, poured gasoline on his clothes and set himself on fire to protest the company’s decision to transfer him to the security department.

The second worker, Ahmad Mughawry Al-Naqib, 40, did the same thing after the company decided to transfer him to another department, which would have required him to work longer hours.

The management at Textile Indroma—formerly known as Shibin Weaving—decided to transfer the workers to force them to submit their resignation, a measure that violates the terms of the company’s sale, according to the same source. The terms of the sale prohibit management from transferring workers to departments that do not fit their specialization.
The company’s management cancelled the transfer decision and the prosecutor’s office is investigating the two incidents, according to the source.

The self-immolation attempts follow similar acts by three Egyptians who set themselves on fire on Tuesday, one of whom died in Alexandria. Several others also made attempts this week but were stopped by security forces.

The men are likely copying a Tunisian man who set himself on fire last month after authorities confiscated his vegetable cart. Mohammed Bouazizi’s death fueled the popular uprising in Tunisia, during which 87 Tunisians were killed. The uprising ended with Ben Ali’s downfall and his escape from Tunisia last Friday.

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