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EGYPT: Textile workers go on hunger strike

September 5, 2009 |  7:19 am


Unlike other Muslims in Egypt, six workers at  Indorama Textiles Co. don't look forward to sunset during Ramadan so they can eat after more than 12 hours of fasting. 

They are on a weeklong hunger strike.

The workers are carrying out the strike in a university hospital in Menoufeya after, they said, they were "abusively sacked and suspended" by the company's board of administrators.

They announced that they won't end their hunger strike until they either die or get back their jobs.

The atmosphere at the former public-sector company, which was sold to Indian investors, has been marred by tensions between workers and the board since employees carried out an 11-day strike in March demanding pay and bonus increases.

"The strike proved to be a success and the workers' demands were fulfilled. However, problems started rising when the board became keen on avoiding any future confrontations by punishing those who led the strike," workers' legal representative Ahmed Ezzat told The Times.

"First, they transferred four of the strike leaders to the company's warehouses in Alexandria. They were demoted to services works after they were production workers and didn’t receive any extra traveling or accommodation costs," Ezzat said."All these practices are against Article 76 of the Egyptian working law."

According to Ezzat, the transferred workers were eventually dismissed or forced to resign from their positions. 

Indorama Textiles workers have released a report threatening to sue Minister of Manpower Aisha Abdel Hadi if they don’t return to their jobs.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Minister of Manpower Aisha Abdel Hadi. Credit: Al Youm Al Sabee