Cairo 6 March, 2018
The Freedom of Expression for Workers and Social Movements Program declares its full solidarity with the fair and legitimate position of the workers of the National Cement Company in Tebbin / Helwan, who insist on operating the company after the decision of the holding company to stop work, forcing early retirement and liquidating the company stating losses.
The workers of the National Cement Company, the only state-owned company in this vital and strategic sector with 1,700 workers, announced that they had achieved the planned target of 112% and that the losses were not because of them, but because of the cases of corruption and looting, which some officials are now under investigation for.
As for the poor justifications given by the administration regarding the rise in the prices of natural gas, which raised the cost of the product, the workers responded by suggesting to switch to the use of diesel or coal instead of gas, as the company has a diesel line that does not work.
The workers’ protest began for the first time on January 14 and lasted for one day, and was broken after the promise of the Minister of Public Enterprise Sector to consider operating the company. The workers’ demands were simple and clear:
– Reoperate the company
– Not to undermine their financial rights
However, the workers were surprised on Wednesday, 28 February, as the salaries were reduced, cutting from their incentives from 390% of the basic salary to only 75%, which meant that many of them could go to jail because they will not be able to pay their debts to the banks, and the workers refused to take their salaries unless it went back to how it was. Therefore, their sit-in was staged from last Wednesday (February 28th) until today (for the seventh day in a row) and they addressed all parties in the state to no avail.
Today a meeting between a group of workers and some MPs, ministers and officials is scheduled to discuss ways to get out of this crisis caused by the administration and officials, not by the workers.
As ANHRI expresses its support for the National Cement Workers and their legitimate demands, hopes that today’s meeting will result in a breakthrough that will restore the workers’ their full financial rights, which has been stable for years, and keeping such an economic body owned by the state.
No to selling or liquidating the national cement plants
No to undermining workers’ rights