Hundreds protest in Suez to pressure Saudi-owned company

Ahram Online, Monday 16 Jul 2012

Staff from the United Sugar Company besiege the Saudi Arabian consulate after company management ignores their pay demands

Sugar
Al-Osra Sugar, one of the Saudi company's products (Photo: Ahram file)

Hundreds of workers of the United Sugar Company (USCE) protested at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Suez governorate on Monday to press their demands for extra pay.

Around 350 staff from USCE, which is majority-owned by the Saudi-based Savola Group, gathered at the consulate in Port Tawfiq, saying company officials had ignored their previous protests. A 20-day sit-in staged at USCE's factory in Ain Sokha Port has brought production there to a halt.
 
Workers are demanding they be paid a new risk allowance, ranging from LE500 to LE900 per month. Some claim to be allergic to materials used in the packaging of the company's sugar products.
 
USCE employs roughly 520 workers at its Ain Sokhna premises.
 
"The representative of the Saudi group told us that the board of directors have refused to meet our demands. They're threatening to shut the factory and lay off workers," said Talaat Mahmoud, a member of the workers syndidate.
 
Mahmoud added that workers intend to travel to the Egyptian capital on Tuesday to continue their protests at the Saudi embassy.
 
USCE workers also went on strike in February to demand a greater share of company profits.
 
The Saudi-listed Savola Group has 100 per cent ownership of four Egypt-based companies, as well as other interests in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.
 
Savola saw gross profits of $269 million in the first quarter of 2012, up from $234.6m in the same period the year before, according to the firm's website.
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