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Workers at Ezz Steel factory in Suez halt production to protest safety conditions

Workers of a subcontracting shipping company at the Ezz Steel factory in Suez strike in protest of poor safety conditions

Karim Hafez , Tuesday 25 Dec 2012
 Ezz Steel
Egypt's steel-makers are feeling the heat (Photo: Reuters)

A group of around 200 shipping workers subcontracted by Banha Engineering International Co, which is in charge of shipment operations for Ezz Steel factory in Suez, staged a strike on Tuesday to protest against what they believe are sub-standard safety conditions.

The strike resulted in the complete halt of all production activities at the Ezz Steel factory in the Suez governorate.

"The dispute was between Bahna's shipping workers and their own management. This issue has nothing to do with Ezz steel. Production was briefly paralyzed this morning but Bahna management assured us the issue will be resolved shortly,” Samir El Noamany, the Ezz Steel’s sales director, told Ahram Online.

Banha Engineering, which provides shipment services for Ezz Steel companies nationwide, had faced similar problems in several other Ezz factories due to its non-compliance with an agreement it struck with its employers regarding wages and workers’ safety, according to Saud Omar, a Suez-based labour activist.

Shipping workers said that the main reason behind their industrial action is the deteriorating safety conditions at the factories.

"Equipment provided to us by both Ezz Steel and Bahna's management is endangering our lives, we are merely asking our management to respect the industrial safety codes," said Mohamed El Tahir, a syndicate member at Bahna Engineering Company.

In October 2012, Ezz Steel reported a 16 per cent drop in net profits for the second quarter, as the company grappled with persistent economic weakness since last year's popular uprising, and successive workers’ disputes are likely to further decline the company's net profits.

Net income for the three-month period (April, May and June) was LE142.43 million ($23.34 million), down from LE168.64 million a year earlier, according to a stock exchange filing.

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