Last night, transport drivers for the Helwan Steel Company went on indefinite strike until management fulfill the workers’ demands.
The workers are demanding a 20% rise in their wages as well as a 3 shift system of 8 hours each. One worker said, “drivers here are penalized constantly, when a worker gets involved in an accident usually due to work stress and long hours we have to take entire responsibility for the accident with management even demanding that we pay repairs out of our own wages.” Another worker said, “We work from 4 in the morning to 2am the following day, its hard to stay alert at the wheel and management refuses to take any responsibility for accidents when they occur. The buses are all in very bad and old condition as well, this puts innocent lives in danger.”
The workers refused to negotiate with Ibrahim Zaki, a member of management, demanding that the CEO of the company Amr Abdel Hady come down to hear their demands. Zaki tried to stop the strike by telling workers of the death of Egyptian soldiers in Sinai under Israeli attacks and the unrest elsewhere in the country – workers broke out into angry chants, one said, “you and management couldn’t possibly be farther from your national duties, and workers’ rights are your national duty as is the safety of the thousands of Egyptians we endanger by driving these buses and working under these circumstances.”
Transport workers at the Helwan Steel Mills currently work 18 hour shifts.