Mega Textile workers, on strike for the last four days, intend to escalate their protest as management insists on dismissing 43 workers, including all members of the factory's independent syndicate.
Wednesday the management resorted to the force of thugs to empty strike locations. "They called body guards and thugs from Cairo, as the tribes they are using to threaten us said they will protect the factory from outside but won't enter inside," said Saad Shaaban, head of Al-Sadat City's independent trade union.
Workers say that nobody can enter the company. "The management wants to empty the company's location of striking workers and doesn't want them to spend the night inside. We fear a massacre could take place tonight," said Asmaa, a member of the company union.
As the large majority of workers are female, male workers took responsibility for perpetuating the sit-in during the night. Each day between 40 and 50 workers sleep in the factory in shifts. "There are around 50 thugs; we fear for our colleagues," says a female worker. Mega Textile workers issued Wednesday a communiqué calling on workers from Al-Sadat City to express their solidarity.
The workers of many factories of the city previously participated in a protest in solidarity with Mega Textile workers.
Shaaban says that seven companies in the city are actually on strike and will support Mega Textile workers in case of any attack. "The 1,200 workers of Alkan Textile Company (Almatex), in a sit-in, are just neighbouring Mega Textile and will help them, Ahram Textile and Nile Textile are also in solidarity with them," he assured.
The workers of the seven companies intend to protest in front of the Egypt Trade Union Federation in Cairo on Sunday.
"The Turkish management of the company is using illegitimate ways to stand against its workers. They think that being a private company allows them to fire any worker, including union members. According to the Egyptian law, it is not possible to fire union members," says Shaaban, adding that the management is trying to escape fixed meetings with officials of the Ministry of Manpower in order not to sign an agreement giving the workers their rights.
"They didn't respect previous agreements and recently they missed three fixed appointments; the last was Tuesday."
Mega Textile protests started long before the January 25 Revolution, gaining momentum after Mubarak's ouster. The 800 hundred young workers held nearly 10 strikes and sit-ins in less than five years, the age of the company. Many were fired, but the remaining workers didn't succumb.