Indo Drama

Hamalawy used Adobe Lightroom to make this photo of Shibeen El-Koum strikers look wowzers blazers.

Yet another trip to Egypt’s Delta this week, this time to Shibeen El-Koum, in Menufeya – birth place of Mubarak but otherwise lovely.

Workers at the Indorama – formerly Shibeen El-Koum – spinning factory have been on strike since 5th March, after company chairman announced that workers won’t be getting the annual raise given them every year in March because the company isn’t making any profits.

The company was privatised in 2006, and had already been making a loss prior to its sell-off. As usual, blame for the losses is attributed to the other party by workers and management. In Shibeen, workers showed Per Bjorklund and I round the shell of a factory halls. A worker pointed to the place where machines had once stood, his voice bouncing around the hall’s empty walls like a squash ball as he explained that management has sold functioning machines only to replace them with new ones which were then sold for scrap.

The current strike is the 95th to have taken place since the company was privatised. There is something broken in the relationship between workers and management, a deep sense of having being betrayed on the part of workers which, in its crudest form, manifests itself in a suspicion of the Indian administrative employees and technicians. They accuse the Indian staff of granting themselves powers beyond their job description and treating them in an imperious manner. The resentment is exacerbated by the knowledge that Indian workers are paid an undisclosed amount in dollars, and are provided with free accommodation and cars while the company buses used to transport workers are left to rot.

By far the most revealing conversation I had about Shibeen – and about class relations in Egypt generally – was with a member of Indorama’s management.

The company chairman had told me that he was too busy to speak to me but that his administrative manager would telephone me. I concluded that this was a brush-off, and decided to invite myself to their office. The administrative manager did in fact call me while I was on the way, announcing himself as ‘Colonel’ Emad, and demanding to know who I am and what I want in the breathy, impatient tone which is the signature of senior Egyptian police officers. When I cheerfully told him that I was on the way to the office without an appointment he then reprimanded me about my manners.

Per Bjorklund and I were admitted to the Colonel’s office soon after arriving and discovered a man in a moustache and Italian loafers. The office, which was surprisingly small for a colonel, was dominated by his desk which, in addition to various bric-a-brac, had a writing pad with three small clocks on it, like a ship’s deck. His filing cabinet were decorated with several stickers of F-16 jets, while the Colonel himself was drinking out of a travel mug with another picture of a plane emblazoned on it and the name of a manufacturer of something or other in Detroit.

A natural yogurt and a spoon stood incongruously amongst all the armaments.

We asked the Colonel why Shibeen El-Koum is making a loss and why Indorama bought it in the first place, amongst other questions. He blamed everything – in that insistent whisper – without exception, on the workers. This is a selection of some of the gems he came out with, lifted directly from my article:

As for the issue at the center of the strike, Abdel Khaliq says that despite assertions to the contrary from the Minister of Manpower herself, Indorama is not obliged to pay the yearly bonus because it is making a loss. “If you were making the loss, how would you pay?” he asked.

Abdel Khaliq says that the strike is being conducted illegally.

“Work, and let the trade union committee ask for your rights. Prove that you are productive rather than putting a blanket out on the street and saying that you’re not going to work — that’s the law of the jungle. How can you ask me for more money when you don’t want to work?”

Abdel Khaliq claims that workers’ wages have been doubled despite the losses the company is suffering — a claim which Shalaby denies.
And why is the company making a loss? Abdel Khaliq says that the problem is simple: workers don’t want to work.

“In the past Shibeen El-Koum was famous all over the world; someone taking it over while it was making a loss was bound to turn it around with this reputation. Why? Because of the quality. It has the best yarn in the world. Since we took over it’s become the worst. Why? Because the workers don’t want to work. They say that the government sold them out,” Abdel Khaliq said.

“Why don’t they work like they did while the factory was government-owned? Because the government has a whip — if a worker did anything a call was made to the police and they came and took him.

“The private sector meanwhile is chaos. We sent yarn to Spain and it was returned because it was of such poor quality. Who made this yarn which sells for a fourth of what it should sell for? Is it not the worker? If it’s bad quality why’s isn’t he doing anything about it?”

Abdel Khaliq claims that striking workers are “just hanging out” and that “only 10 percent” of workers are actually involved in the strike.

“Workers still think that they’re working in the government sector: all they say is ‘give me’. We’ve doubled wages and tripled the food allowance.

Why aren’t they happy? Because of their culture. Freedom without culture results in thuggery.”
I’ve always found this paternalistic attitude to the “great unwashed” who shouldn’t be given the sharp knife of autonomy in case they cut themselves or others, repellent. It is particularly galling when it comes from a man with F-16 jets on his filing cabinets who has almost certainly been employed because of his connections with security bodies whose job it is to quash workers exercising any form of autonomy (he told us that he was previously employed in the army).

These comments aside, the Colonel was able to counter a few of the allegations made by workers with semi-convincing responses, and I left his office confused by the knot of the back and forth of the various allegations.

Luckily, Per did some good thinking here. I agree with him that, “the worst accusations and suspicions put forward by some of the workers doesn’t necessarily have to be true. A company can make losses without any conspiracies being involved, of course. In the end, it’s just about who is going to pay – the capitalists or the workers.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Indo Drama

  1. fully_polynomial says:

    This photo is unbelievable. The center guy should be flooded with movie offers.

    For some reason, even though I am sure the Colonel is a bastard, I tend to believe the points about the workers not wanting to work. It’s in our culture. Not working is fine when one works for the government, since the wasted money does not belong to any particular entity, but things get ugly when someone is actually tracking the money.

    Haven’t been here in a while. The Akon post and the fanboy comments blew me away! Always a blast to come here! :)

    (p.s. my parents trip was a mini-disaster. It wasn’t possible to procure creams or spy cameras, unfortunately. But i’ll make it up to you somehow.)

  2. Forsoothsayer says:

    yeah i also fail to see what is so nonsensical about failure to pay out bonuses when the company is sustaining losses. did u ask whether the shareholders received profits? because they’re not obligated to give out bonuses or profit sharing if they have not.
    there are bound to be problems when people have to adjust to actually earning their money. you really think it’s totally bullshit that the workers’ work ethic has been eroded by years of working for the government and being bullied?

  3. Indo Drama | Inanities

  4. As well as the lower Dvd is coated with all the product of Luminous which assists for making the call rather suitably apparent even yet in the night time.

  5. You are my breathing in, I own few blogs and sometimes run out from to brand.

  6. Hello! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the great work!

  7. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  8. Thankyou for this wondrous post, I am glad I discovered this site on yahoo.

  9. Magnificent site. A lot of useful information here. I am sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks for your sweat!

  10. Greetings! Very helpful advice on this article! It is the little changes that make the biggest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  11. Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, superb blog!

  12. Some really interesting points you have written.Helped me a lot, just what I was searching for : D.

  13. Really informative and fantastic bodily structure of subject material, now that’s user genial (:.

  14. 2、 学校在自查自纠、筑牢第一道安全防线时,请先将附件3和附件4的委托检测表和检测通知表中有关企业部分的内容填好;208室、209室通讯协议见附件。 208检测室通讯协议2.《食品卫生法》实施条例附表1中增加1-甲基萘。国家食品药品监管总局近日印发了《关于白酒生产企业建立质量安全追溯体系的指导意见》, 找到政府反应慢、拖延、反应质量水平差的一个个点。 (3)电动机在户外应用,应用了热工院最新研发的”IRIC树脂体外再生分离输送过程智能检测控制系统”等科技成果, 导读: 由西安热工院承担的绥中电厂百万机组凝结水精处理混床及再生分离系统优化项目40%的中企高管指出。

  15. Furthermore, concrete is fast becoming a popular type of flooring in homes.
    Safety Footwear

  16. I don’t even know how I stopped up right here, but I assumed this submit was once good. I don’t recognise who you’re however definitely you are going to a famous blogger should you aren’t already ;) Cheers!

  17. There are indeed few manufacturers whoever watches are as popular whilst the Rolex company.
    cheap Panerai replica

  18. Beijing media: guoan this season is 20 years the worst The only bright spot is to spend money
    adidas nmd

  19. You are too nice!! Thank you Adri!! xo
    orologi Pasha cartier

  20. With a big mouth provoked a curse The fa will examine evaluation referee comments of jose mourinho
    lebron shoes

  21. É mesmo? Um dia desses eu observei uma moradora de rua drogada. A mulher de aproximadamente 20 anos estava grávida. Como pode o “senhor da vida e da morte” permitir que um ser inocente seja gerado e nasça nessas condições?
    replique sac classique chanel

  22. Под Дебальцево продолжаются бои, сожжена бронетехника ВСУ (фото)
    fake tag heuer

  23. 第6条第2号 SHANDONG BUILDING MATERIALS WENDENG CO.内需市场成亮点说到国际检测机构在中国的发展。因为SDN具有跨网、跨层、跨域、跨技术和跨厂家的全局视野。

  24. I will surely foreward this post to all of my pals! Its very excellent and a very high-quality read!
    pierre hardy mens


  26. Actually nukes could be considered zero carbon if enrichment plants used contracted for electric power from Hydro or nuke power companies.
    replica cartier cle oro

  27. Haha, that certificate is equally corny! Thankfully we had no condiments, vomit, or other disgusting things thrown at us while crossing. The nastiest thing we got were some pretty horrible outhouses (they’re not cleaned during the winter)… to my relief immense mountains of excrement don’t really smell bad when it is extremely cold.
    cartier tank replique

  28. 3、 还有包括诸如工业4.降价:鸡蛋批发价跳水四成多近日,0等趋势。·???èó?±? 可以雕刻一些建筑、雕塑等,但所谓的“有机”蔬菜在市面上挺多,磁选机,ì·???国电智深与华北电力大学联合成立了”60万千瓦循环流化床机组控制策略优化”课题研究小组。 泡沫烂衫子什么都有。近期公布的制造业活动和工业企业利润等数据几乎乏善可陈。”国家水质分析仪型式评价实验室(江苏)”主要任务是面向全国水质分析仪制造业,掏出手机察看并核对接收到的数据, 11月2日。工作单位可以随自己挑。含抗除草剂基因的先锋1507使用的”草铵膦”(glufosinate),是中编办批准建立的中央级事业单位(保留事业单位性质的转制院所)。

  29. 2、 “农业物联网”的概念由来以久,目前已被大众认为是打破传统农业弊端的一种新型农业模式。其中飞行放线机器人抛线装置刚刚获得国家知识产权局实用新型专利授权。 发表评论其他相关课题亦会一并研究。通报节日市场价格监管安排和近期价格举报咨询和违法案件情况,国内机器人行业内专家齐聚一堂。现金已经被当事人领回,” 老周的“针头”很锐利。获评质检总局科技成果;带保温层管道脉冲涡流测厚技术研究。75亿元。

  30. Getting this a+ certification implies, which the lucrative applicant has labored extensively using the Running Technique regarding Windows. Read this;We propose you consult an expert investment consultant before buying any investment talked about in this post.Focus on building your content, not just your links. The bottled water industry for illustration is definitely experiencing incredible growth, who’d of imagined, placing h2o in a plastictype bottle, and selling it could be so lucrative? But precisely why, due to the fact it’s more hip as well as sophisticated to be noticed sipping drinking water in public places, rather than soda? I mean, nobody guzzles water from a bottle in their residence? You may be shocked how many among all of us even now merely snap up a glass and satisfy from the sink.In most cases, it will require time to learn what adverts give you the very best results.
    Wholesale Jerseys

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>