CAIRO: Workers at Mahalla’s Aboul Seba’ textile factory are again demonstrating over unpaid wages.
Aboul Seba’ worker El-Sayed Rizq El-Shishtawy told Daily News Egypt that workers have been on unpaid mandatory leave since the beginning of this month. He also stated that he and the other workers had only been receiving a fraction of their wages for the three months preceding their leave.
Over 4,000 workers are employed in the three Aboul Seba’ factories in Mahalla.
“They’ve been giving us LE 150 per month when most of us are paid about LE 1,000 per month," says El-Shishtawy. "When we went back to work last week after the holiday they made us take, [manager] Ismail Hussein told us that we’ll be off work for another 15 days.”
The Tadamon group, which reports on labor action in Egypt, says on its website that the current protest by Aboul Seba’ workers is the third protest of its kind in eight months. Protests were launched for identical reasons in January and July of this year.
In July 2009, clashes erupted when 500 Aboul Seba’ workers gathered on the street outside the company factory and security bodies used force to push them back inside the factory premises. Workers responded by throwing stones at the security bodies.
El-Shishtawy — who has worked at Aboul Seba’ for the past 10 years — is one of the many workers left frustrated.
“[The manager Hussein] doesn’t want to pay us, and doesn’t want to let us work," adds El- Shishtawy. "What am I supposed to do? I just want to take the money they owe me and leave."