Cleopatra talks deadlocked
ALL ATTEMPTS to end the dispute between Cleopatra Ceramics workers and the company's chairman, Mohamed Abul-Enein, have failed. Two government brokered meetings with labour representatives that took place during the past two weeks in a bid to end the stand-off saw no progress.
Cleopatra Ceramics workers have demonstrated for the past three weeks against what they claim are delays in the disbursal of salaries and profit shares.
According to Fathi Yassin, secretary-general of the Factory Workers' Syndicate in Suez, negotiations failed because workers refused Abul-Enein's conditions to end the crisis. Yassin said that workers have agreed to give up their profit shares and to postpone the disbursal of risk allowance payments until the beginning of next year. The compromise, however, does not seem to be satisfactory to Abul-Enein, Yassin said.
Abul-Enein's conditions to end the dispute and reopen Cleopatra Ceramics' Ain Al-Sokhna and 10 Ramadan City factories, Yassin said, include that he would not pay July salaries, due to a halt in production, forming a committee to restructure wages, and another committee to investigate the legal status of nine members of the Workers' Syndicate to decide whether they should be expelled or returned to work.
"Any further negotiations would also fail," Yassin told Al-Ahram Weekly. "This crisis would not come to an end unless the state urges Abul-Enein to pay workers their financial dues," he added.
In a press conference last week, Abul-Enein said that his factories would remain closed until a government-backed settlement is reached.
Abul-Enein blamed 50 of the Factory Workers' Syndicate for provoking weeks of strikes by employees to demand a greater share of company profits.
Production has been frozen since 20 June at the firm's factories in Ain El-Sokhna and 10th of Ramadan City.