Egyptian Iron and Steel (HADISOLB) Holding company president Zaky Bassiouny and union representatives held talks on Sunday, as workers there continue their strike.
The Revolutionary Front called for solidarity with the workers on Monday as they protest outside the holding company’s headquarters.
Mohamed Omar, a representative of the striking workers, said that half of the workers plan to remain in the factory headquarters in Helwan “so that the sit-in is not dispersed” while half march to the office of the holding company, located in Garden City, on Monday afternoon.
The cabinet said in a statement that the meeting on Sunday was attended by workers but Omar dismissed this and said the striking workers “were not represented”.
Cabinet spokesman Hany Salah said that the government understands the need to provide resources to pay workers “incentives” because of their financial commitments, despite the losses the company made in this year and the past year.
The state-owned company incurred losses of EGP 405m last year and EGP 864m so far this year.
However, Omar said the workers are not asking for incentives, but are instead “demanding their profit share.” He claims that a total of EGP192m for 16 months of production bonuses is owed to the company workers.
“It is a right that we get every year,” Omar said.
The workers are also demanding an improvement of working standards, developing the company, the removal of the company’s board members and the return of dismissed workers.
But the strike has been mired with conflicting allegations of who can be seen as its legitimate representative. Khaled Al-Feki, the chairman of the General Union for Engineering Industries and another representative of the workers, had said last week: “Despite the rumours, our only demand is the improvement of our working conditions and not the removal of the board.”
The company employs around 14,000 workers and around 5,000 of them are participating in the strike. Last week, in an escalation, some workers welded shut the factory gates in Helwan.
Cabinet spokesperson Salah said that country is suffering from a large budget deficit of EGP 240bn and state intervention to pay the incentives would come at the expense of money allocated for other sectors like education, health and infrastructure.
Salah said that because of the economic situation of the country, the workers are “looking forward to” ending the strike.