Labour unrest at Egypt's Sokhna Port obstructs maritime cargo traffic

MENA and Ahram Online, Sunday 10 Feb 2013

Workers' strike at Egypt's Ain Sokhna seaport – now in tenth day – sends increasing numbers of container ships to alternative ports in Egypt and elswhere

 Ain Sokhna Port
The port of Ain El-Sokhna (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Operations at Egypt's Ain Sokhna seaport have been paralysed due to ongoing labour unrest, which has forced a number of incoming cargo ships to head to alternative ports both inside and outside of the country, state news agency MENA reported on Sunday.

Activity at the port's container terminal in particular has ground to a complete halt due to an ongoing labour strike – now in its tenth day – by some 1,200 workers employed by subcontractor Platinum Maritime Services.

The workers' contracts with Dubai-based DP World, which manages the seaport, were terminated at the end of last year. Workers are now refusing employment contracts with six new subcontractors, demanding instead direct employment with DP World.

Speaking to MENA, an unnamed DP World official condemned the labour action as "incomprehensible" and "unjustified."

He said that the company had agreed with the new subcontractors to provide workers with fair employment contracts, including higher wages and improved benefits, stressing the "impossibility" of DP World's hiring the workers directly.

The workers, employed under temporary contracts with Platinum, have staged several labour strikes since October to demand employment contracts with DP World. 

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