A number of employees at the Potable Water and Sewer System Company in the village of Armant south of Luxor called a labour strike on Monday but were forced by armed locals to call off the action later the same day.
Enraged by an abrupt water outage, several Armant residents armed with machine guns reportedly threatened striking employees with physical harm unless they returned to work.
Resident Mahmoud Sanad says he and his colleagues broke into the company’s offices and threatened to open fire on workers unless the latter quickly resumed work and reopened the water main.
Strikers, who are demanding that the company’s chairman be sacked, cut the local water supply early Monday morning.
For his part, Ahmed Roshdi, head of the company’s Armant branch, denied that the strike had been forcibly broken up by armed residents. He said striking workers had simply been persuaded to return to work after being told their demands would be considered by company officials.
According to Roshdi, company officials have promised to address workers’ longstanding grievances within ten days.