Cleopatra Ceramic back at work after army-brokered deal
Work resumes at Ain Sokhna factory after management agrees to grant staff bonuses and a share of profits
Bassem Abo Alabass, Tuesday 22 May 2012
Cleopatra Ceramics factory (Photo: Company website)
Workers at a Cleopatra Ceramics factory in Ain Sokha resumed work on Tuesday after management restarted transport to company premises and agreed to enact a previous pledge to pay staff bonuses and share profits.
The deal, brokered by army officials in Suez governorate where the factory is located, came after 20 hours of negotiations between company chairman and labour representatives.
Work at the factory had been frozen for 12 days after management stopped the complementary transport which takes employees between their homes and company premises.
Employees accused Cleopatra's chairman, Mohamed Abul-Einein, of cutting the service to punish them for demanding pay increases and additional benefits.
In response, around 4,000 of the factory's 6,000 employees staged a long-running sit-in in front of the governor's office in Suez city to protest the company's action.
This ended Monday after a deal was battered out.
"Abul-Einein agreed to pay us grants, allowances and shares of company profits. The first tranche payment of these will be worth LE75,000 from a total of LE12 million," said Ahmed Salah, the deputy head of the factory's workers syndicate.
Salah said workers will receive the money stipulated in the agreement by next week.
Established in 1983, Cleopatra Ceramics says it has a presence in more than 100 world markets. Its factory in Ain Sokhna is one of the largest ceramics plants in the Middle East.
The firm's chairman, Abul-Einein, was a member of ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s now-defunct National Democratic Party.
Following last year's uprising he was summoned for questioning in a number of corruption cases. No charges were brought against him.