A number of political parties have expressed their reservations regarding the government's decision to lease the stalled spinning factories, considering it to be a measure that amounts to privatization and a proof that the government is unable to manage them directly.
Other parties have agreed to the measure, provided that the rights of the workers are guaranteed and that they are granted participation in the management.
“The idea is not commensurate with the social justice that the January 25 and June 30 revolutions called for,” said Karama Party President Mohamed Samy, adding that investors are only interested in making profits. “We might as well lease the Suez Canal and the Pyramids, for that matter.”
Abdel Ghaffar Shokr, President of the People's Alliance Party, welcomed the idea as long as the factories' assets are not sold and the workers are not dismissed. “Mubarak is responsible for the losses those factories make,” he said.
Nabil Zaki, the spokesperson for the Tagammu Party, said this industry is part of a century-old heritage, which must be preserved. “The privatization of the industry has not improved it,” he said. “It has damaged it.”
Sahar Othman, former deputy of the Federation of Trade Unions, said the idea could provide a boost for investment. “However, there are workers who are not well trained,” she said. “We must make sure they are trained and not dismissed.”
“The Ministry of Manpower stands with the investors against the workers,” she added. “We also need true elections, which would bring new leaders who work for the interests of the workers, not against them.”
Ali al-Badri, President of the Egypt’s Workers Free Union, is against the idea. “It would amount to privatization, if it is not controlled,” he said.
Gamal Othman of the Tanta Flax Company did not object to the idea as long as the leasing is limited to five years, subject to renewal.
For his part, Abdel Fattah Ibrahim, President of the Spinning and Weaving Union, said has not been formally informed about the decision.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm