Amonsito workers to end sit-in as syndicate foresees resolution to crisis

Amonsito textile workers suspended their ongoing sit-in late Wednesday after reaching an agreement with Textile Workers Syndicate head Said el-Gohary to postpone further protest actions until high profile meetings take place.

The workers will suspend their sit-in until they meet with President Hosni Mubarak’s Chief of Staff Zakaria Azmi and General Workers Union head Hussein Megawer to discuss their demands. The workers staged the sit-in to protest the Banque Misr’s non-payment of compensation agreed to under a 21 March settlement between the workers and the government.

El-Gohary promised that he would organize a meeting between them and Megawer so they could be informed of the negotiations conducted on their behalf to force the government to implement their demands. According to el-Gohary, “The syndicate fully supports the Amonsito workers and considers their bargaining position strong.”  “They are demanding what is rightfully theirs, in accordance with a settlement signed by the government,” he asserted.

Under the settlement, workers who were employed at the Amonsito factory for more than 20 years are to receive three months’ salary per year worked, whereas employees with less than 20-year tenure are to receive four months’ salary per year. However, Banque Misr has yet to disburse the compensation as required by the settlement. The workers began demanding compensation from the government after the Amonsito factory closed in 2007 when company owner Adel Agha, a Syrian-American businessman, fled the country to avoid criminal charges relating to suspect bank loans. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in abstentia.

El-Gohary stressed that his syndicate, as the workers’ representative, did not sign any agreements that did not give the workers what they were fully entitled. He stated that the workers had demanded LE100 million in compensation, noting however that the People’s Assembly had agreed in the end to earmark LE50 million for the workers. According to El-Gohary, the payments are currently being processed by the Ministry of Manpower and Migration.

“Negotiations are being at the highest levels to end the crisis as soon as possible,” he stated.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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