Approximately 1,500 workers staged an open-ended sit-in Sunday in the Red Sea gold mine of Sukari, objecting to the decision of the mine’s operating company, Centamin-Egypt, to lay off a number of mine workers.
Protesters set a 24-hour deadline for the company’s owners, saying they would close off all entrances to the mine if their demands are not met, most importantly an increase in their wages.
The workers also announced they had previously demanded of the company to raise their wages by 60 per cent as a hazard fee, as stipulated in the Egyptian Mines and Quarries Law, and in addition to pay 10 per cent of profits as worker bonuses.
The sit-in comes after almost a month of warnings by workers. In June, they reportedly asked the worker’s office to intervene in securing their demands. When that failed, workers announced a 15-day countdown, after which they launched the current sit-in.
The decision to lay off a number of workers came following several months in which workers had been calling for the implementation of the Egyptian Mines and Quarries Law, in addition to equal pay between Egyptian and foreign workers in the company.
In March, a strike at the mine, based on the same demands, resulted in the closure of the company for one week.