Egypt's Polvara to close textile unit

Marwa Hussein, Tuesday 25 Oct 2011

Alexandria-based manufacturer which saw strikes in favour of renationalisation prepares to close unit, asking workers to volunteer for early retirement

Workers protesting at Polvara premises start of October(Photo: Ibrahim Mahmoud)

Alexandria-based Polvara Spinning and Weaving will close one of its textile production departments, the manufacturing firm announced in a statement to Egypt's stock exchange on Tuesday.

The statement from Polvara's management came in reaction to an article published in Egypt's Al-Mal financial newspaper on 23 October, which claimed the textile unit will be restructured and 300 workers will be sent into early retirement.
Polvara said the company is asking for workers to volunteer for early retirement and "the remaining workers will be trained to work in the spinning departments."
Polvara workers staged a 10-day strike at the beginning of October, demanding the company -- which was privatised in 2006 -- be returned to the public sector. Employees claimed the management aimed to sell the company.
Adel Moharram, a member of Polvara’s union, said workers were aware of the decision to close the textile department but that the decision has been postponed.
"Two months ago they sent 20 workers into early retirement," Moharram said. "Workers are unhappy with the decision." 
Polvara closed its factories from 8 to 13 October in an attempt to end the strike by employees who have since returned to work.
In addition to renationalisation of the company, workers were demanding increases in meal allowances and bonuses to put them on a par with public sector workers.
They achieved a rise in meal allowances but the 200 per cent bonus increase has not yet been granted.
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