By Amr Adel
Labour lawyer, and former presidential candidate, Khaled Ali denied allegations, made by the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF) on Tuesday, of encouraging workers to vote against the coming constitutional referendum.
The federation accused him in a statement of “stirring up discord and confusion” among the workers of the Samanoud Weaving Company, a state-owned organisation, and calling on them to vote against the constitution.
Hisham El-Banna, one of the workers, denied that Ali had sent any human rights activists from the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) or encouraged workers to vote against the constitution.
ECESR also denied any involvement. Malek Adly, a lawyer at the centre, said: “We did not send anybody from the centre to the Samanoud Weaving Company and Khalid Ali is not involved.”
Media consultant at the federation Abdel Wahab Kheir said: “Khaled Ali called Abdel Fattah Ibrahim, the president of the federation, and denied his connection with anyone who had visited the company within two days”.
On 8 December, the ETUF made an official announcement and called on its members to vote Yes in the upcoming referendum.
Samanoud workers are on strike and have occupied company premises for the past four months in order to pressure the government into paying their salaries, according to El-Banna.
El-Banna said, “all of the male and female workers of the company are part of the strike,” adding that “they will not end the strike until their demands are met.”
Negotiations between the workers and the government have been unsuccessful so far.
Meanwhile, Kheir assured that, “negotiations are underway between the ETUF and Minister of Workforce Kamal Abou Eita to solve the current problem between the workers and the company.”
Samanoud Weaving Company employs 1,200 workers and was founded in 1983.