Workers at the Petroleum Projects and Technical Consultations (Petrojet) company held three simultaneous protests on Sunday, demanding contracts in company projects.
The workers had been involved in Petrojet projects on a contract basis but their contracts have not been renewed for at least two years. Despite the numerous protests held over those two years, situation remains unchanged.
The workers are currently protesting outside the Presidential Palace, the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, and the Abdeen Palace, where the presidency has set up an office to receive citizens’ grievances. The workers had filed a complaint at the office in July, 2012.
Protester Waleed Al-Abd, standing outside the Abdeen Palace, said a number of the workers had spoken with officials inside.
Mohamed Douban, who was protesting at the ministry, said every time one of the workers called to see about the complaint, the response would be, “We will try to speed things up.”
Douban said that the company told the workers they could not be contracted because the company has not had a sufficient backlog of projects following the 2011 revolution.
Yet Douban and Mohamed Farouk, who was protesting outside the presidential palace, both claim that the company has recently been resorting to contractors to supply workers in its recent projects.
A representative of the company could not be reached for comment. The company said in May that it was trying to obtain new projects in order to resolve the issue.
Farouk said the workers were accustomed to having their contracts expire for a month or two and then they get renewed when new projects come up. Al-Abd said, however, “They will not have us back… there has not been any income.”
Further, Farouk laments that there is no legitimate outlet for the workers to raise their demands which had not been tried, and that they had addressed the cabinets of Essam Sharaf, Kamal El-Ganzoury and Hesham Qandil.
Farouk added that the police forces securing the presidential palace had approached protesters on Sunday and told them to protest outside their ministry instead.
“This caused psychological pressure on many protesters, who decided to [leave] to Abdeen and the ministry,” he said.
Farouk recalled the clashes that erupted in May between security and workers who were protesting outside the company, expressing a desire to avoid any repeat of the incident. “It was a set up, [and we fell for it.] For years, we never threw a single rock,” he said.
Farouk added that the workers are currently coordinating to see if they will set up tents in one of the three locations to see their demands met.
Despite conflicting reports on the numbers of workers facing contract issues, the total amounts to at least several hundreds.