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Telecom Egypt workers insist on demands, wage restructuring hastens

Landline monopoly says its operations have not been affected by the last wave of strikes against the alleged corruption practices of its management

Ahram Online, Wednesday 19 Oct 2011
Telecom Egypt
Telecom Egypt workers (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Egypt’s Telecom Egypt (TE) said Wednesday that the current strike by its employees remains limited and is not affecting the landline monopoly’s ability to provide services.

Directory service employees and some maintenance and administrative workers have downed tools as part of escalating protests against TE’s management.

TE explained in a statement sent to the stock exchange that it has rerouted directory service operations to its subsidiary Xeed.

Workers are demanding TE drops charges against five of their colleagues as well as the resignation of top management which they accuse of corruption.

The five employees held the company’s chief executive Mohamed Abdel Rehim hostage in his office for 21 hours and were subsequently charged with attempted murder.

Ten workers in TE’s offices in Cairo’s Opera Square have since started a hunger strike in solidarity with their colleagues in captivity.

Workers have threatened to extend their strike and cut off all landline and internet services, but seem to be keeping that as their final card.

“Now we are holding talks with the Ministry of Communications and we will even meet the prime minister. We will see the results,” said Mohamed Helmy, the president of TE’s independent syndicate in Cairo.

The company announced Tuesday that it will accelerate its wage restructuring process to conclude by the end of 2011 instead of March 2012.

Workers however, say that the injustice they are protesting is not only in wages but extends to corruption inother financial and administrative aspects.

“This is not enough. We will continue protesting until Abdel Rehim [CEO] resigns,” Helmy told Ahram Online.

The company however denies all claims of corruption, and says that workers should hand any evidence of corruption they have to the authorities.

The firm realised total net profits of LE826 million ($138.8m) in the second quarter of 2011, down from LE971 million in the same period the year before, and down 7.9 per cent from the year’s first quarter.

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