Egyptian Iron and Steel Company’s (HADISOLB) workers announced on Tuesday that they would continue striking until their demands are fully met.
Approximately 5,000 workers at the company’s Helwan factory began their 14th day of strikes on Tuesday. Mohamed Omar, alleged leader of the strike, said last Wednesday that their demands include payment of their profit share, an improvement of working standards, the removal of the company’s board members and the return of dismissed workers.
According to the demonstrators, 13,000 workers are owed a total of EGP 192m for 16 months’ worth of production bonuses.
“Our escalation will continue due to the government’s persistence in ignoring our calls while attempting to taint our strike by accusing us of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood,” the workers said in a statement.
“We won’t back off until our company’s operation is restored, the corrupt are dismissed and our demands are met.”
The workers began their strike in the factory headquarters two weeks ago and decided to move their strike on Monday to the headquarters of the holding company in Garden City District, downtown.
During last Tuesday’s weekly cabinet meeting Minister of Manpower Kamal Abu-Eita relayed the demands of the workers to Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi, who decided to “promptly reserve the profit share required by the workers and pay them within 72 hours,” according to the ministry spokesman Alaa Awad. The profits had not been paid prior to this “due to difficulties faced by the government and economic problems related to this year’s fiscal deficit within the company”.
Awad said that the ministry has never accused the workers of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, adding that their demands are legitimate but the deficit in the budget is preventing them from paying.
“The factory needs repairs amounting to EGP 300m while the profit share pay amounts to EGP 200m; currently, this amount of money is extremely difficult to pay,” Awad said.
The spokesman alleged that the chairman of the holding company said in a statement that an initial payment to the workers has been reserved and they are only waiting on their paycheck.