By Aya Nader
The Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) on Tuesday referred to court the case of 25 workers who did not receive their salaries for more than a year.
The ECESR said in a statement that it would legally defend the workers until the entirety of their financial rights are secured.
The workers of the International Company for Cellulose Production appealed to the ECESR after the company failed to pay their wages for 16 months.
In the statement, the ECESR said it had referred the case to the relevant labour court after an amicable settlement with the labour office failed.
The centre will also file a complaint with the prosecutor general, requesting an investigation of the company’s chairman and managing director for failing to pay the wages and assaulting the right to work, which is a crime punishable by up to two years of imprisonment.
“The prosecution usually uses the work law against workers,” said Malek Adly, lawyer for the ECESR. “It has reached an apathetic state , not helping the poor and favouring businessmen. Yet we try to use all legal methods to help them [workers], or else what are they to do? Commit suicide?”
The company had closed the factory where the workers were assigned, but they continued to go to the administration headquarters to prove their attendance and their readiness to work at another site.
“There are certain legal procedures an owner should go through to close a factory, which he did not do,” Adly said. “So technically the factory is still open.”