Together for the Immediate Suspension of the Decision to Liquidate the Egyptian Iron and Steel Company
There is rejection to the liquidation decision among the Egyptian society, and apparent rage among labour and people. Parliament members from all political and partisan affiliations expressed substantial objections to the liquidation decision in the parliamentary session of Thursday, the 21st of January 2021. This Company occupies a special status in the hearts and minds of the Egyptian people. In front of the Minister of Public Works Sector, they stressed the importance of this Company as an edifice of Egyptian industry that has to be protected and provided with all necessary capacities to be able to continue operation.
In spite of all the above, the Ministry of Public Works Sector and the Holding Company for Metallurgical Industries insist on implementing their unacceptable decision to liquidate the Egyptian Iron and Steel company. They announce the steps of the liquidation process, and exert pressure on the workers of the Company in order to dissuade them from their strong rejection of all financial temptations and their defence of their Company. Their resilience evoked solidarity from all over the world. Arab and international trade unions and federations issued statements to express rejection of the liquidation decision, and to call upon the Egyptian government to stop the execution of this decision.
We are shocked at this astonishing disregard of public opinion trends and the societal stance against the liquidation decision. So, we affirm that the insistence of the Ministry of Public Works Sector to implement this unacceptable decision does not only defy popular will, but also overlooks very important considerations as follows:
It is important in this regard to recall the Prime Minister’s Decision no. 799 for 2018 regarding the establishment of the Supreme Council of Social Dialogue in the Field of Work. The competences of this council include “participating in the formulation of national policies of social dialogue in the field of work; creating an environment that is conducive to consultation, cooperation and exchange of information; proposing appropriate solutions in order to avoid collective labour conflicts at the national scale, especially in times of economic crises that may lead to partial or total interruption of some projects; building and strengthening trust among partners of the production process; and adopting measures to help and support economic projects that provide adequate job opportunities.”
If this Council is not invited to discuss the fate of a company as huge as the Egyptian Iron and Steel Company that employs more than 7000 workers and to discuss a decision that is rejected by all representatives of workers and trade unions, and if the government refrains from conducting social dialogue using this mechanism it created, doesn’t it mean that it neglects any social dialogue and that it considers such mechanism mere decoration?
Submitting a lockout request and presenting it to the afore-mentioned committees is obligatory as long as it affects workers. What we have here is a decision that leads to laying-off more than 7000 workers issued without submitting the statutory request to the competent committee. How government may ask private sector employers to abide by the Law, if it disregards and disrespects its provisions?
CTUWS reaffirms its objection to the shocking decision to liquidate the Egyptian Iron and Steel Company; and calls upon all people concerned, the president and members of the Parliament, and all dynamic forces of the Egyptian society who are keen on national wealth and aspiring for sustainable development and who stand against the destruction of the country’s economic capabilities to express solidarity in the following demands:
Center for Trade Unions and Workers’ Services
Cairo, 8 February 2021