The demands of striking iron and steel workers are a priority on the agenda of the Egyptian Trade Union Federation (ETUF), the federation said Tuesday, announcing that it “holds the government fully responsible for the deterioration of the situation.”
The 6 million-member trade union also called on Minister of Manpower and Immigration Kamal Abu-Eita to resolve the issue during the next cabinet meeting set for Tuesday evening.
In a statement, the Union said a “stern message” has been relayed through Abu-Eita to the cabinet concerning the demands of the workers, who have been asking for their “legitimate rights in annual profits as well as reforms inside the company.”
The ETUF also called on Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi to dismiss Egyptian Iron and Steel Company’s (HADISOLB) president, Zaky Bassiouny.
The statement concluded “The federation will not rest until demands are met”.
Approximately 5,000 workers at the company’s Helwan factory entered their eighth day of strikes Tuesday, demanding payment of their profit share, an improvement of working standards and the removal of the company’s board members.
According to the demonstrators 13,000 workers are owed a total of EGP192m in 16 months’ worth of production bonuses.
Chairman of the ETUF Abdel Fattah Ibrahim had met with Prime Minister El-Beblawi earlier in the week where he conveyed demands before announcing that the “union will be striking alongside the workers.”
Ibrahim had previously met with the workers last Tuesday before the strike, when he promised that their demands would be met “within 48 hours”.
However, according to leader of the strike, Mohamed Omar, “Bassiouny did not commit to Ibrahim’s promise, which prompted the beginning of our strike.”
“We will continue our strike until our demands are met,” Omar added.
The Metallurgical Industries CO (MIC) is the parent company of HADISOLB and controls 14 other holding companies.
According to Egyptian state-run media a statement by the MIC said that “the employees are partially striking; however, the factory has not completely halted its activities.”
On Monday workers said that they had welded the gates shut and no products are entering or exiting the factory.
“Welding the doors shut only lasted for a day and activity is currently restored to normal,” the company claimed.
“The [workers’] demands are still being negotiated between the government and HADISOLB where MIC is considering paying a loan worth EGP 300m to solve the problem,” the statement announced.