23 January, 2009

Telemisr sit-in ended after another security intervention

Workers at Telemasr ended their sit-in at the factory in al-Haram yesterday after 5 days. I went there in the afternoon, but just as I arrived a worker told me over phone that the sit-in had ended a few hours earlier. That was partly because that morning, state security showed up and threatened to arrest everyone on the spot. The worker I spoke to also mentioned (with big reservations here for my lousy arabic that's even worse over phone) that the workers would give the company one week to fullfill their demands (to cancel the transfer of almost 200 workers to the Ismailiyya branch and the partial closure of the factory in Cairo) or they would announce a strike.

I talked to a driver working for the company, who said that "The government solved the problem and the people left, alhamdulilah [thank god]!" He seemed really nervous and was probably afraid of getting in trouble since, according to el-Badeel, several workers have been forced to accept early retirement after talking to media before.

Telemisr is one of many state-owned companies that has been sold at prices allegedly far below their true value in order to enrich friends of the regime and satisfy the demands of the International Monetary Fund. In this case there was a big controversy involving a member of the management circumventing the correct procedures for purchasing shares to acquire a majority ownership of the company. Soon after privatization, the owner cancelled payments of bonuses and allowances and started preparations to close the plant in Cairo and sell or exploit the land for other purposes.

No comments:

Post a Comment