CAIRO: Approximately 140 Egyptian expatriate workers in Algeria continued to hold a sit-in Saturday outside Sarl MHDA for Industrial Construction, owned by Egyptian businessman Mohamed Salem, to protest four months of overdue wages, reported Youm7.
“The actions of [Salem] are detrimental to Egyptian workers and business owners abroad at a time we strive to improve this image,” Minister of Manpower Nahed Ashry said Thursday.
Representatives from the embassy and officials from the Algerian state of Sétif had negotiated with Salem and agreed on a “friendly settlement,” but he did not apply the terms of the agreement and disappeared, Ashry added.
After the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested that the Algerian police arrest Salem, he was reported to have already traveled to back Egypt.
Ashry has reported him to Egypt’s Attorney-General, and the embassy is coordinating with the Algerian authorities to sue Salem as well, according to an embassy statement Wednesday.
In a precautionary measure, the embassy has finalized procedures preventing Salem from handling his company’s equipment in Sétif.
Omar Abou Eish, Egypt’s ambassador to Algeria, proposed that workers continue to work with Algerian partners and compromise on their dues, work at other Egyptian companies in Algeria, or return to Egypt.
Some of the workers agreed to return to Egypt after the ambassador advised them that there is “no point in staying,” but later changed their minds and insisted to stay until they receive their late salaries, according to the statement.
“The businessman escaped to Egypt after “he felt that the embassy stands with the workers,” Abou Eish said, adding that MAHDA has always had difficulties in the field of business.
In 2012, Cairo Economic Court refused the sale of Sarl Mahda to pay for its 50.9 million EGP ($7.12 million) in debt to the Egyptian Bank of Egypt, not counting an addition 13.5 million EGP due annually until full payment, Al-Ahram newspaper reported.