Suez Canal workers block roads, minister promises resolution

Strikes by workers at seven Suez Canal Authority companies have intensified with protesters in the cities of Ismailiya and Suez blocking key roads.

Employees of the Suez Arsenal Company, the only subsidiary in Suez city, blocked Port-Tawfik road in an expression of discontent with media reports which claimed the strike was disbanded on Sunday. Workers reopened the road after discussions with army officials in the area.

In Ismailiya, workers blocked road number 6, preventing cars from crossing to the Sinai peninsula.

A delegation representing workers of the seven companies met Labour Minister Ahmed El-Boraie on Sunday with him asking them to file a letter to the Prime Minister. El-Boraie promised to resolve the problem within six days.

On Monday the strike entered its seventh day.

Nasser Othman, a workers representative who participated in the delegation, said  the strike will carry on until the workers demands are met.

Company workers began protests on 3 April demanding they receive pay equivalent to those who work in the Suez Canal Authority. Interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf has given orders to the head of the Authority to resolve the situation.

Employees are demanding a 40 per cent increase in basic salary,  7 per cent bonus payments and a hike in their meal allowances. Workers claim they were promised raises in pay and bonuses by Ahmed Fadel, CEO of Suez Canal Authority, on 19 April.

Officials of the Canal Authority were not available for comment.

Main canal operations are still functioning despite disruptions to supporting services. The Suez Canal is one Egypt’s main foreign currency earners, generating $4.5 billion in 2009-2010.,-minister-promises-.aspx

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