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Hussein Ahmed Hussein
Hussein Ahmed Hussein, assistant general secretary of Cadbury workers' union in Alexandria, dismissed by Mondelez for union activity in July 2012. Born in 1983, Hussein has a 3 year young daughter.

I have been working for the company for 7 years. I started on the 5th of June 2006. We tried more than once to establish a union, but the company did not allow that and the State supported the company. We were not allowed to form an independent union and many of the workers were fired from work in the past for their attempts to act independently.

Events at Tahrir square in Cairo are very important to us, because we now have the right to create our own, workers organisations, which is independent of management. We need these organisations to protect our dignity and to stop injustice at the factory. Our union was established in April 2012 and I am the assistant to the general secretary. But today I have no job, I was fired.

On 26th of July 2012 the management posted a notice on the factory bulletin board announcing the company would not pay the 15% social allowance decreed by the government. The content of the notice stated the company is not obliged to implement the decree. The workers protested against this decision on the same day and went into the management building asking to talk to some of the administrative staff. The management replied by saying "that was a management decision". These were the words of manager Ameer Shahata. The workers were very angry because of the decision and decided to stop work. The next day was Friday, the off duty day, but the workers decided not to leave the factory until they met with someone from the factory management.

I arrived at the factory on the second day of the protest at 8:00 am as I received so many calls from my co-workers and union members. The workers delegated the union to form a negotiation team to contact management, and we did. I contacted the management, the management arrived after Friday prayer. The management team was: the factory manager Ala'a Darweesh, production manager Ameer Shahata and human resources manager Wala'a Hamoudeh.

We met with them and started to talk about the contents of the notice. All workers were there; around 70 to 80 workers were in the factory cafeteria, but the union took over the lead and I was delegated to the negotiations team. Our position was that the notice is illegal and both private and public sector enterprises are obliged to give the allowance to the workers. The factory manager replied that "this was the company decision" and if there are any new decisions, they will be announced next week.

We consulted with the workers and they refused to accept the decision. They were very angry and decided not to work unless they received the allowance. The workers then left the cafeteria.

We continued negotiations. The factory manager finally said the posting of the notice could have been a mistake from the human resources department and they will come up with a new decision next week. We asked the workers if that’s satisfactory, but the workers rejected that and once again we informed the factory manager of the workers decision. His reply was that he “already has sent Ala'a Darweesh and Wala'a Hamoudeh to the police department to raise a case against union members as they incited the workers to strike".

He wanted to eliminate the union.

We offered to the factory manager on Saturday, through the union president, Mohammad Hassan Ahmed, to go back to work if the management decided to freeze their decision. He agreed, and we went back to work. But he was lying. We were surprised on Sunday 29th July that the legal affairs department decided to start investigation against six union members and some other workers. They started investigating the union treasurer, Mohammad Abu Alola, and the treasurer assistant, Mohammad Hussain Ameen, accusing them of inciting workers to strike. They accused them even before hearing the witnesses.

We were surprised to learn on the next day, Monday 30th July, that Naser Awad, Mohammad Hassan, Mohammad Hussain and Mohammad Abu Alola were suspended for one week until the end of investigations. They did not suspend me on that day.

I was called for a meeting on Tuesday 31st of July 2012 with the factory manager, Mohammad Mustafa. I was threatened by Mohammad Mustafa to be suspended because I opposed his idea of dissolving the union. I told him the union is independent and no one can dissolve the union. Two other managers Ameer Shahata and Ala'a Darweesh were there to demand dissolution of the union.

But I was against that position and told them the union is legal; it is our democratic right to have the union, we fought for this right and we will not dissolve it! They told me they will suspend me like what they did with my colleagues. And this is what they did the next day. I went to work on 1st of August and was told there is a decision of suspension for one week. When we came back on 8th of August to work, the human resources manager Wala'a Hamoudeh was waiting for us at the company's main gate with a paper from the legal affairs department stating, that we are suspended and are to be referred to the Labor Court for dismissal purposes.

Legal procedures have started since that time. We went to the Labor Office and made a complaint, then to the police station to start the first procedure of raising the case to the court. The court hearings started on Oct. 2012 and no decisions have been taken yet. The court hearings could be postponed for months while we are not working and without any pay and our contract does not permit us to work anywhere else if we want the court to reinstate us.

Many workers come in court to support us as witnesses. The company threatened them either by transfer to another location or by dismissal from work. Once after the hearings the company lawyer threatened the witnesses in front of us telling them “you want them to go back to work”, and she answered herself: “they will not go back to work”.

The company has the ability to extend the trial in the court for different reasons, sometimes because of the names are not exactly correct, sometimes because of witnesses…and because of the revolution and the situation the country is passing through... This is endless… so far we have appeared 53 times in front of Egyptian court and each time they postpone the hearing. In one month, the hearing was postponed 3 times. We hope the court will take a decision before 2020.

In the meantime we cannot work anywhere else until the court has announced the decision. When my children or someone asks me: why do you not go to work anymore? I reply "the company has dismissed me". Then they ask, why?… It’s like I am being accused of doing something wrong. Some of us worked there 25 years … and what are we charged with? The company suspended us because we are not in line with their policy, because we fight for our rights. Is that a crime?

The company wants to humiliate us; they want to leave us without salaries, insurance, allowances, or any other benefits. If they had offered that, we would have rejected it because we are unionists. Money is not a substitute… the only solution is we go back to work and we will not accept any compensation. We do have a labor case, so financial substitution is not a solution. The only thing we accept is to go back proudly to our work. We will not leave our jobs no matter what was the reason, it is our factory, we built it by our own hands!

Cadbury workers take stand against Kraft/Mondelez human rights abuses // 2:23 (or watch it on YouTube)

Interview Hussein Ahmed Hussein - sacked by Kraf/Mondelez // 9:36
(or watch it on YouTube)

Interview Nasr Awad - sacked by Kraft/Mondelez // 7:36
(or watch it on YouTube)
The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)