On Sunday, 31 workers from Mega Textiles Company in the industrial Sadat City were denied entrance into their factory. Many of the workers belonged to the company’s recently organised union’s committee have reportedly witnessed rising tensions as the company’s Turkish management continues to take punitive measures against union members and protesting workers. Union members organized a meeting in Journalists syndicate, Cairo, with labour activists and journalists to explain their problem
Mahmoud Abdel Nasser, head of the company’s new independent union, described the company’s increasingly harsh methods: “Last Wednesday, the management sent in 25 armed Bedouins, some with automatic weapons in Jeeps and Toyotas. Since our strike in May, the management has been depriving us of holidays, lowering our wages and marking us as absent when we show up.”
On Saturday, workers met with members of their union during break but were interrupted, according to Abdel Nasser by the management and the Bedouins who arrived in tow.
“We met during the break so as not to disrupt our production. They burst in and Gouda Al-Arabawy, the leader of these Bedouins, ordered me to step down from the chair I was standing on. The workers around me refused to let them take me,” the union head stated.
The management then reportedly called the workers and union members “dogs”, declaring that they would “finish with all of you, whether legally or not.”
Mega Textile workers went on strike in May, demanding an increase of the maximum insured wage from LE150 to 200, payment of the 15 per cent bonus, a daily meal, adherence to the eight-hour working day with a one-hour break and overtime pay for each extra hour of work.
Workers complained of low wages and poor working conditions, insufficient medical care, the management’s discrimination against them in favour of foreign workers – mainly Indian or Bangladeshi and the disproportionate employment of foreign workers who exceed the legally permitted amount of 10 per cent. According to Abdel Nasser, however, the workers are not currently on strike.