Egypt Watch

General Warehouse workers stop their demonstrations after security threats

Workers in the Egyptian General Warehouse Company stopped their demonstrations for fear of security consequences, according to one of the workers who participated in the protests.

This came after a meeting which brought together five workers with two representatives of the Holding Company for Maritime and Land Transport, which owns the Egyptian General Warehouse Company, attended by an officer who is supposed to be working for the National Security Agency.

The worker said that the workers who attended the meeting sensed a complete bias from the officer towards the administration and against the workers. He added that during the meeting, the officer alluded to the possibility of accusing the workers of protesting without a permit. Hundreds of workers in the Egyptian General Warehouse Company were demonstrating against the conclusion of the company’s general assembly meeting on January 13, reducing the workers’ share of the company’s profits.

The worker explained that the demonstrations took place daily throughout the usual working day without a sit-in or strike, adding that the workers ruled out resorting to a strike due to the nature of the company’s work in a sensitive sector. For his part, the chairman of the company’s board of directors submitted a complaint to the Alexandria Port Prosecution accusing 12 workers of inciting a strike, even though the company did not stop working, according to workers.

One of the workers referred for investigation said that the protests started and continued spontaneously, but that the company’s management tried to negotiate with those referred for investigation, as if they were leading the protest, and offered them to withdraw the complaint submitted to the prosecution in exchange for allowing the chairman of the board to return to the company’s headquarters, which he could not enter due to the demonstrations. But negotiations did not progress.

According to workers, this reduction in entitlements is due to the implementation of the amendments to the Business Sector Law that only allows 12 per cent of the annual profits of companies to be distributed to workers. The workers’ share of the annual profits and bonuses represents a large percentage of their annual wages, which means the reduction severely affects their standard of living, according to workers.

A member of the Union Committee confirmed that the workers’ demonstrations are also calling for the dismissal of the chairman of the board of directors, because the company’s profits fell during his tenure by more than 42 per cent, according to the company’s financial statements.