Saturday, September 13, 2008

Victory for Workers at Seven Different Suez Canal Companies

Following a wave of labor protests & strikes which took place over the past two weeks, around seven thousand workers from seven Suez Canal companies managed to win concessions from their administrations and from the Canal Authorities. Workers at two companies – namely the Port (Utilities) Company in Ismailiya, and the Rope Manufacturing Company in Port Sa’id – had conducted protests, sleep-ins, and a strike during which they demanded that their companies be merged with Suez Canal Authority, or at least that they be granted parity with their worker-counterparts in the Authority.

“While the seven companies have not (yet) been merged within the Suez Canal Authority, the workers at these companies have been granted many of their demands” said Mohammad Hassan Haggag, a Local Union Committee Member representing workers at the Ismailiya Port Company. Haggag went on to say that “the Administrative President of the Suez Canal Authority, Lieutenant General Ahmad Ali Fadel, announced that the merger of these companies could be examined as early as November 15th – at the beginning of the upcoming parliamentary session – so that MPs could discuss the issuing of new legislation which brings into effect the merger of these seven companies within the Authority.”

In the meantime, the seven canal company administrations have pledged to grant their workers the following benefits - as of September the 18th or, at the latest, the 21st :

1.) A 50% increase in the basic wage of each worker.
2.) Another 50% raise in the basic wage of each worker - as “incentive pay.”
3.) Doubling the monthly food allowance – from LE26/month to LE52/month.
4.) A special monetary endowment for Ramadan & Eid – unspecified.
5.) Increasing the rate of profit-sharing amongst the companies’ workers – unspecified.

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