Seventy-one kilometers away from Cairo, 300 workers decided to make their own revolution against the owner of a company called Nubaseed. The workers protested against the owner because of “unequal treatment and disrespect” after a manager slapped two workers in the face. At the same time, the Egyptian Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation accused the owner of “manipulation of contracts” and issued a decree to confiscate the company’s land.
The owner asked all his managers to leave their offices and withdraw every pound from the company’s bank accounts, expecting that Nubaseed would collapse within two months. The managers carried out the order and returned to their offices in Cairo. The workers, meanwhile, faced a very hard situation: the bank accounts were empty, the managers were gone and the workers were due to be paid.
The workers began to manage the failing company themselves, using their own knowledge and experience. After just two years, they were the most successful model of self-management in Egypt following the revolution and achieved high profits.
In 2013, however, Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawy issued an official decree to give the company back to the investor, along with any profits earned by the workers over the two years of self-management. The government also asked the investor to keep all of the staff, but he later fired 20 workers.