Workers at Egypt’s Sokhna port strike for fifth day

Operations at Egypt’s eastern Ain Sokhna seaport remained paralysed on Thursday as a labour strike by workers there entered its fifth day.

More than 900 workers are staging a sit-in at the Red Sea port until management meets their demands for better pay and conditions.

Islam Al-Sayed, who is participating in the strike, said the board of directors of DP World, the port’s operator, met workers on Tuesday but did not meet their demands.

“They wanted workers to sign a document which would ban our right to stage sit-ins for the next three years,” Al-Sayed told Ahram Online.

Workers’ demands include hardship allowances of at least 30 per cent of their full wages, wage restructuring and a stake in the company’s profits for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010.

“We’ve calculated our profit share and we found it reaches LE86 million,” Al-Sayed claimed.

Employees accuse Egypt’s minister of Manpower and Immigration Fathy Fekry of breaking a promise he made to resolve the issue of worker allowances by 9 February.

According to Ali Selim, vice president of the port’s workers syndicate, six port workers are also waging a hunger strike until their demands are met.
Sokhna Port is Cairo’s primary seaport for cargo originating from the Far East.

The sole private port, which is operated by Dubai-based DP World, employs around 1,200 permanent and 4,000 temporary workers.

Sokhna Port’s strike is unrelated to the general strike called at the weekend by some political groups to protest against Egypt’s ruling military.

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