By: Committee for Justice (CFJ)
Geneva: August 23, 2023
Retired workers from the Iron and Steel Company staged a second protest on Tuesday, August 22, outside the Metallurgical Industries Holding, demanding their unpaid financial benefits from the company’s fellowship fund.
According to the Committee for Justice (CFJ), the management of Metallurgical Industries Holding asked two of the protesting workers to represent their demands. These representatives returned promptly to inform their fellow protesters that the company rejected settling their legitimate financial claims within the company’s fellowship fund. They emphasized that the company’s management was not a party to the issue and advised them to approach the Ministry of Public Business Sector to discuss the matter with the minister or any other relevant official from the ministry. The company’s management also called the police on the protesters, urging them to leave the company’s gates and address their complaints at the Ministry of Public Business Sector.
Fellowship Fund Crisis:
Hundreds of workers who retired since May 1st, 2018, up until the company’s liquidation in 2021, have not received their financial entitlements from the fellowship fund since their retirement until now. They have repeatedly demanded to receive their rights according to the fund’s regulations. These regulations stipulate that a maximum of 140 months’ worth of payments be disbursed when a fund member reaches retirement age. This was the case for workers who retired before May 1st, 2014. However, a new approach was adopted for members who retired between May 1st, 2014, and May 1st, 2018. They were granted 70 months’ worth of payments initially, with the rest to be paid in installments until financial resources became available for the fund. This approach was explained by the officials of Metallurgical Industries Holding. However, the fund completely ceased disbursing any amounts to retirees since 2018 until the company’s liquidation.
Call for Intervention and Halt to Security Solutions:
The Committee for Justice (CFJ) calls on the Egyptian Ministry of Business Sector to intervene immediately to lift the injustice inflicted on the workers of the Iron and Steel Company who are referred to retirement, and to abide by the company’s internal regulations and labor laws regulating companies in Egypt.
CFJ stresses that the security solution adopted by the Metallurgical Industries Holding in dealing with the protesting workers will exacerbate the issue rather than resolve it. They believe that the solution lies in opening negotiation channels rather than closing them, and they stress the workers’ right to protest and strike according to the international labor laws that Egypt has ratified.