Construction of a new power station in Egypt's Ain Sokhna region on the Red Sea coast was suspended for the third consecutive day due to an ongoing workers' strike, electricity ministry spokesman Aktham Abu El-Ela said on Monday.
Roughly 50 construction workers first declared the strike Saturday to demand that the ministry provide them with permanent employment contracts. On Monday, however, their numbers reportedly swelled to some 200.
According to Abu El-Ela, striking workers – who have surrounded the power station since Saturday – belong to private contracting companies. "They're neither affiliated with the ministry nor employed by it," the spokesman told Ahram Online.
"We've contacted the ministries of defence and interior to handle the problem, but concrete steps have yet to be taken," Abu El-Ela added.
According to a statement on the ministry's website, the LE10 billion power plant will boast a maximum capacity of 1,300 megawatts through two units.
The first unit is scheduled to come online before the summer of next year. The second is expected to become operational by 2014.
In August, the government announced that a new power station at Damietta (roughly 300 kilometres north of Cairo) and another at Abu Kier in the Alexandria governorate had begun operations with a view to meeting rising domestic energy demand.
The two stations reportedly represent some LE12 billion worth of investment and generate a combined 1,800 megawatts of energy.