Workers demanding to be reinstated in the Petroleum Projects and Technical Consultations (Petrojet) company projects clashed with company security on Wednesday.
At the time of writing, five workers had entered a company building to hold negotiations with company administration. The rest of the workers were camping out outside the company, waiting to see what the negotiations will lead to.
According to Dalia Moussa, Workers Coordinator at the Egyptian Centre for Social and Economic Rights, 350 to 400 workers showed up on Wednesday at the company expecting the company to offer them positions as company officials had allegedly promised.
On arrival they found several Central Security Forces trucks lined up outside the company premises. They were not allowed to enter and were told that there were no jobs for them.
The workers blocked a major road soon after and clashes broke out between workers and company security. “Company security hosed the workers down with water and threw rocks at them. The workers threw rocks back,” Moussa said.
Mohamed Al-Shahat, one of the workers who was laid off, said teargas was fired at the workers. He said the company premises were damaged, as were two cars near the clashes and a motorbike that caught fire. He said the arm of one security guard was broken, adding that most injuries were minor.
Some Petrojet workers have not been working on company projects for nearly two years and are demanding jobs. In the past two years, they held several demonstrations demanding to be offered jobs again and have spoken to many officials.
Al-Shahat said the issue was discussed with Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s cabinet and the cabinet of Kamal El-Ganzoury, as well as Hesham Qandil’s cabinet. “We knocked on all the doors,” he said, stating that he had been working with the company for 10 years.
He said the company says there are currently no projects to employ workers. In a statement released by the company on Tuesday on its Facebook page, the administration said: “In regards to demands by former colleagues to be reinstated in the company, several meetings have been held with the colleagues and the highest level of company administration since the start of the year.”
The administration said it is currently attempting to obtain new projects, adding that if all company workers are used in these projects, the laid-off workers can be gradually brought back to work due to their experience and qualifications.
“There is complete transparency in the company,” Petrojet said.