HELWAN: Workers at the Tora Cement plant have reached an agreement regarding one of their demands concerning pay and conditions after staging a protest Monday.
Some 200 workers had assembled in the factory on Monday morning.
Shabaan Ezzat, a trade union member, told Daily News Egypt that the Tora Cement company – owned by the Italcementi group since 2005 – had failed to renew an agreement organizing employment relations.
“There was an agreement in force which ended on Dec. 31, 2008. A new agreement should be put in place, Ezzat said.
“The agreement organizes relations between them [company management] and us: it describes our rights and their obligations. It should have been renewed on Jan. 1, 2009 but they have postponed this until June, Ezzat continued.
Workers were also demanding that their paid leave entitlement be calculated on the basis of total salaries.
“Over the course of the past six months new demands emerged. We want holiday entitlements to be based on our total salary including bonus payments. But they say no – holiday entitlements are calculated without bonus payments, Ezzat explained.
According to Ezzat, company management agreed to this demand on Monday afternoon.
Management has not however shifted its position regarding the agreement governing labor relations – it will not be renewed earlier than June.
Workers also say that the Tora Cement company employs around 400 non-permanent workers on contract.
Union member Ali El-Shafei alleged that this policy is adopted so that the company “does not have to pay for their benefits.
The Tora Cement company could not be reached for comment.
In December 2006 over 1,000 Tora Cement workers launched a successful strike after company management refused to pay them a bonus.
Several labor leaders launched a hunger strike during the action, including Ezzat.
“We are used to company management not responding to our demands, despite the fact that we point out to them what the law says and don t ask for anything other than what we are legally entitled to, Ezzat said.
“We ve been in discussions with them for a month and a half now and nothing has changed…Management only responds to workers demands when we take a stance like this, when we stage protests. Otherwise they ignore us completely, he continued.