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Workers at Egypt's public Iron and Steel Company stage sit-in

Thousands of workers at one of Egypt's largest public companies in Helwan organise a sit-in for profit share

Marwa Hussein, Tuesday 26 Nov 2013
Steel production - one of Egypt's most important heavy industries (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 2114

Thousands of workers from the Iron and Steel co. (HADISOLB) in Helwan South Cairo started a sit-in on Tuesday demanding profit shares.

"Our sit-in will continue until the company issues an official statement with a date for payment," said Youssef Rashwan, a worker at HADISOLB.

According to Rashwan, workers will not strike, as the cost of shutting down the blast furnace is very high.

The general assembly of the company allocated 16 months profit shares to their 11969 workers, which they were expecting to receive in November as the costume every year.

Rashwan explained that workers on the morning shift were at the sit-in, while workers from the second shift would join the protest after working hours. Those on the night shift are also expected to join later.

A statement from the Centre for Trade Union and Worker's Services (CTUWS) alleged that the administration had punished some workers for playing a leading role in the strike.

According to the statement, which Rashwan confirmed, worker Ahmed Adel was transferred from the factory's plants in Helwan to the company's mines in the Bahariya oasis.

Another worker was sent for a medical check, in order to give him early retirement 'for medical reasons'.

The workers are also demanding the dismissal of the CEO and the president of the Holding Company for Metallurgic Industries. They have requested that the government invests more in the modernisation of the company.

Company losses jumped from LE311.5 million ($44 million) in 2011 to LE676 million ($95 million) last year.

"The company does not get the necessary coal to work at full capacity; it is not the workers fault if the company does not make a profit," says Rashwan.

HADISOLB is known for leading one of the most famous instances of industrial action of the Mubarak-era, in 1989, which was ended when security forces broke into the factory, leaving one dead, many injured and tens detained.  

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