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Egypt Ceramica Cleopatra workers suspend strike pending govt action

Striking workers at Ceramica Cleopatra in Ain Sokhna suspend workplace action after government promises to mediate in pay dispute

Ahram Online, Wednesday 18 Jul 2012
Cleopatra
Cleopatra Ceramic workers protest in downtown Cairo in July (Photo: Ahmed Feteha)
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Cleopatra Ceramics workers on Wednesday suspended their twenty-eight-day strike after the government promised to mediate between the workers and the company's owner Mohamed Abul-Einin, a former member of Hosni Mubarak's now-dissolved National Democratic Party.

Worker Mohamed Abdel-Rahim told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website that both Egypt's cabinet and the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones – a government agency devoted to promoting investment in Egypt – had promised to hold a meeting between workers and company owner Abul-Einin to reach a mutually-acceptable settlement.

In March, some 4,000 of the 6,000 workers employed at the company's factory in Ain Sokhna launched a strike to demand salary increases, bonus payments and a share of company profits.

In May, factory operations were suspended for 12 days after company management stopped providing workers with free transportation. In response, around 4,000 employees staged a sit-in in front of the Suez governor's office.

In an attempt to express their frustration at the lack of progress on their demands, workers stormed the government buildings on Tuesday, and in return security forces fired tear gas to disperse them.

Established in 1983, Cleopatra Ceramics claims to export to more than 100 countries and employ around 20,000 people. Ain Sokhna factory, relatively close to the Suez Canal, is one of the largest ceramics plants in the Middle East.

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