Approximately 5,000 workers at the Egyptian Iron and Steel Company’s (HADISOLB) Helwan factory entered their seventh day of strikes Monday, demanding payment of their profit share, an improvement of working standards and the removal of the company’s board members.
The strike started after Egyptian Trade Union Federation Chairman Abdel Fatah Ibrahim visited the factory in an event last Tuesday confirming that the workers’ profit shares would be paid in 48 hours.
“This promise was never fulfilled, and we blame the CEO of the holding company, Zaky Bassiouny,” said Mohamed Omar, leader of the strike and member of the Iron and Steel Union. “The chairman of the board is deliberately allowing the factory to sustain losses by not providing sufficient raw materials, developing the technological capabilities of the factories and applying advanced marketing techniques to meet demands of the market.”
The workers decided to escalate the protest on Monday and move from inside the factory walls in Helwan to the headquarters of the company in the high-end downtown Cairo neighborhood of Garden City. After facing difficulties receiving approval from the Ministry of Interior, in accordance with the recent Protest Law, the workers decided to suspend their escalation.
Omar alleged that 13,000 workers are owed a total of EGP192m in 16 months’ worth of production bonuses.
Minister of Manpower and Immigration Kamal Abu-Eita gained fame for his stands with labourers before the 25 January Revolution as well as serving as chairman for the Independent Labour Unions.
“Abu-Eita sold us out,” Omar said. “He did not assist us during this ordeal, and we won’t resort to him anymore.”