Workers at the Ain Sokhna port detained six managers as bargaining chips in order to resolve an ongoing dispute over payment of shares in the company. The standoff escalated from a protest on Tuesday when 600 workers staged a demonstration against the management company’s failure to adequately distribute 2011 profits.
Members of the port worker’s syndicate told reporters that employees were told they would not be able to expect this crucial part of their salaries before September. Dubai Ports World (DP), an international maritime company with more than 60 ports worldwide had promised disbursement of the shares in April. The shares are a critical aspect of the salary scheme and the employees have committed to continuing their protest until they are paid. When asked about the situation and how they intended to rectify the issue, the DP office for the Middle East based in Riyadh declined to comment.
The situation stems from another dispute in late February when workers staged a similar protest demanding an increase in profit shares. The standoff froze critical port operations, costing DP an estimated LE50 million before an agreement was reached with the company. The port is critical to Egypt’s tourism sector as a popular destination for foreign visitors to Egypt but is also a popular weekend destination for Egyptian families. DP currently has a contract that runs until 2032 that gives them exclusive rights to the port, an agreement made with former Mubarak Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif in 2007.