CAIRO: TEData employees continued a strike for the third day on Wednesday, citing discontent over temporary contracts.
“We are not demanding a raise in salaries — only that our jobs are secure,” Mohamed Gamal, an employee, said.
The internet service provider’s employees issued a statement calling for support for their cause, and the company’s recognition of their role in “establishing its position in the field of information technology.”
“The company has denied [our role…] even though we have attracted the highest rate of customers in the Egyptian market,” the statement read.
TEData is owned by Telecom Egypt, the country’s only fixed-line operator. Telecom Egypt had decided to fix the contracts of 15,000 daily employees’ in its other companies; and TEData employees say they should be considered for similar plans.
“This move was taken only for temporary, daily employees. The employees at TEData are not temporary. They have contracts that are renewed every year or two,” Ahmed Osama, managing director of TEData said.
Holding the strike in front of the company headquarters, employees were disgruntled about discrepancies in contracts within the company where some are on permanent contracts while others remain as “seasonal” staff.
Osama, however, said that permanent employees signed their contracts before the 2003 labor law and hence have the right to retain those contracts. He reiterated a statement made during a television appearance with Al-Hayat, saying that all TEData employees sign renewable contracts.
“It is company policy not to offer fixed contracts,” he added.
The company’s official response is that it has not missed the deadline to renew the contracts of almost 400 technicians — few of whom are on strike.
“We urge the prime minister to evaluate our contracts according to international standards. Our supervisors receive between LE 100,000 and LE 150,000,” Ayman Badawy, another employee, said.
According to the protesters’ statement, employees claim to receive only 10 percent of the LE 14 million allocated to monthly salaries; “this number is exorbitant as a result of the high salaries paid to those who execute plans according to their whims.”
Osama agreed that this figure is too high and “is incorrect.” In the past year, TEData made a profit of LE 65 million, of which only 10 percent, or LE 6.5 million, was allocated to salaries.
“We thought this number was too little, so we awarded benefits that were equivalent to two months’ paid salary,” he said.
In light of the strike, the company has resorted to outsourced labor, who are hired as company staff and trained by seasonally-contracted employees.
“We train them. They hire them [employees from outsourcing companies] in order to pay them less, only LE 700 as opposed to LE 1,000,” Gamal said.
As employees vow to continue their strike, Osama said that at the moment, no one will be suspended for their strike action. “I hope that matters don’t reach an open-ended protest. It is hard to tell how we will deal with those on strike, then.”
Meanwhile, 47-year-old Reda Shahaz Mohamed said, “I’ve been working here for 11 years. These people created the company. In 10 years, TEData made profits by tenfold. Aren’t our demands of wanting permanent contracts legitimate? Isn’t it within our rights to secure our lives and those of our children?”