Egypt Businessmen Used Carrots and Sticks for Workers to Vote

A paid day leave, less working hours and transportation to polling stations provided, these were all endeavors made by Egyptian businessmen and factory owners to bring their workers to vote in the presidential elections.

Some even threatened to withhold the workers’ incentives or deduct the leave from their payroll if they failed to vote.

“We gave this leave to the workers who want to participate in building the nation… those who did not participate do not want to build the nation,” Mohamed al-Morshedi, textile company owner has said.

Morshedi added that factories in the Obour Industrial Zone have agreed to give workers a paid leave on Tuesday – second day of the presidential elections – and reduced the working hours for the first and third day to give the workers a chance to go vote, considering that “a necessary national discourse for businessmen.”

“We motivate the workers to vote, we do not direct them to choose a certain candidate,” he said.

Morshedi asked if workers who did not vote on their paid leave “deserve it”, explaining that the phosphoric ink would be a good indicator and that businessmen have the right to make sure that the workers did not use the paid leave, which they have endured its cost, for personal interests.

A photo of a letter, attributed to Ahmed Elsewedy, CEO of Elsewedy Electric, that “urged workers to vote and threatened that there would be no incentives for those who don’t” circulated on Facebook.

Tarek Yehia, Investors’ relations director at Elsewedy Electric, confirmed that this letter was real and that was sent to all the company’s employees and workers, but it was “improperly written.”

“The company will not take any actions against those who did not vote and it has no legal right to do so. The letter only aimed at encouraging the employees to go,” Yehia said.

Likewise, Universal Group for Home Appliances issued a decision that all its employees leave at 2 p.m. on Tuesday so to vote. The security management at the company said it would inspect the workers the day after to make sure they voted through the phosphoric ink on their hands.

“The early leave will be deduced from those who were proven not to have participated in the elections,” said the decision.

Yosri Qotb, the company CEO, told Aswat Masriya that “the decision was issued by the human resources administration but it was written in an inappropriate way.”

Qotb added that the workers were not asked to vote for a certain candidate and that they had the complete freedom to invalidate their ballots.

“This decision that was issued to motivate workers to vote was based on a request from the ministry of manpower and from the workers themselves.”

Official Spokesman for the Manpower Ministry Yasser al-Sherbini told Aswat Masriya that the ministry had circulated an announcement a week earlier to coordinate with all factories “to make it easier for workers to vote in a manner that suits the working conditions.”

Source : Aswat Masriya