Mohamed Farag Amer claims he is being blackmailed by workers
Egyptian business leaders and economists have been stunned by businessman Mohamed Farag Amer's decision to close all of his factories in Alexandria amid labour unrest
.Amer, chairperson of Faragalla Group, said the decision had been made due to insecurity and striking threats from workers, which made it difficult to resume production. However, some observers have criticised the move and fear its negative impact on the Egyptian economy and poor workforce.
Hussien Sabour, Chairperson of the Businessmen Association, said Farag has the right to close his factories, and urged authorities to improve security in the region. He described the current situation as "disastrous," and added that the hostile environment is not good for local and foreign investors.
Businessperson Hassan al-Shafie criticised local trade unions for blackmailing business-owners for personal gains. He said that the unions had failed to understand the pressure on owners in the current economic climate.
Economic expert Abdel-Khalek Farouk criticised Amer's decision to close the factories and backed workers in their demands. "The labourer's demand for better pay is legal," he said, adding the matter should have been resolved through dialogue and not by closing factories.
Similarly, economic expert Ahmed el-Nagar said he understood the workers' plight and rejected Amer's justification for closing the factories. "Amer refused to increase worker wages, while he spent millions of pounds on buying new players for Semoha football team," he explained.
Amer confirmed his plans to close factories on Thursday, claiming he was being blackmailed by trade unions. He also accused some workers of attacking his employees with swords and weapons to achieve "illegal demands."