The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) condemned security officials in Suez for their methods in dealing with striking Suez Steel Company workers, in a report issued by the NGO on Monday.
The report said the striking workers were seriously threatened by a Third Army representative, who told them that their refusal to put their strike on hold and disperse their sit-in would result in the continuation of the detention of arrested colleagues. The remarks came in a meeting that was held between the workers, Third Army representative, Suez Governor and tribal leaders last Thursday.
As a result the workers put their strike on hold, dispersed their sit-in, and the fired workers complied with the decision of their dismissal. The conferees agreed that the workers would receive their wages on Sunday, which did not happen after the workers learned that they would not receive their wages for the month they were on strike.
The report added that the police’s response to the complaints filed by the workers against the company’s administration was slow, compared to their response to the complaints filed by the administration against the workers, which it said shows the authorities’ prejudice against them.
The workers said “thugs” tried to storm the sit in on Thursday, without any intervention from the army forces located 500 meters away, according to the report.
EIPR demanded that the fired workers be returned to their jobs, and that the company respect the right to strike and hold sit-ins, as well as amending the labour law put in place in 2003.
The Suez Steel Company, owned by Lebanese businessman Rafik El Daw and his Egyptian partner Gamal El-Garhi, saw it workers go on strike starting from 22 July following the decision to dismiss 12 workers after their demand to share in a percentage in revenues and improvement in the health care system.
The company’s administration tried to disperse the sit-in on 13 August, supported by army forces.