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Updated: 18.12.2012 15:51
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Abou Tartour Phosphate Mining Workers :

Sit-in Inside the Mines - Police Forces Threaten to Turn Off Ventilation Systems

The workers of About Tartour Phosphate Mines of the Western Desert of Egypt started protesting last Tuesday (26 October, 2004) in demand of their wasted rights. They also protested against the maltreatment they receive from the management of their company. Their movement escalated gradually until the First Shift Workers began a strike and sit-in inside the mine yesterday morning (Thursday 28 October 2004). The police forces besieged the mine and prevented the workers of the other shifts from joining their striking colleagues. At the same time the police forces threatened to turn off the mine’s ventilation fans. Such an action would subject the lives of those workers to serious perils.

The crisis of the About Tartour Phosphate Mines Workers is over one year old now. It encompasses about 1200 workers, about 800 of them are employed according to temporary contracts. Thus, they are deprived of any sense of job security and are never sure of their future. In spite of the very serious work conditions, which entitle them to obtain a healthy nutritional meal, the management stopped this practice about nine months ago. Moreover, the management stopped the provision of milk and hygienic materials over 18 months ago. Although About Tartour workers are entitled to a share in profits equivalent to 10 months salary (similar to the employees of the Executive Authority for Industrial and Mining Projects which About Tart our Project belongs to), About Tart our workers have not received any of these profits to date. They did not even get the grant of the Holy Month of Ramadan. Further, there is a delay in the payment of their monthly wages in spite of the urgent and persisting needs implied by the nature of those days of the Month of Ramadan.

The workers of About Tartour Phosphate Project suffered a lot as a result of the deprivation of these rights, which they are calling for. Nevertheless, the main reason that forced them to strike and to sit-in is the administrative abuses and maltreatment of the Project’s management and in particular the Managing Director, the Head of the Industrial Sectors and the General Manager of the Legal Affairs Department. The workers call for the dismissal of these persons in addition to the other demands mentioned hereinabove.

The Centre for Trade Unions and Workers Services (CTUWS) announces its support for and solidarity with the workers of About Tartour Phosphate Project and their legitimate demands and hereby emphasizes the following points:

· The 800 workers employed by temporary contracts in About Tartour Phosphate Project have the right to job security. They should have permanent contracts that preserve their rights similar to the other permanent workers.

· All the workers of the About Tartour Phosphate Project have the right to get a healthy nutritional meal and the complete hygienic materials according to the regulations.

· All the workers should immediately obtain their share in profits equivalent to 10 months salary, the grant of the Holy Month of Ramadan and their wages in arrears.

· The management must stop the administrative abuses and maltreatment and must make the persons who practice such abuses accountable for them.

Confirming the right of the Project Workers to express their demands and defend their legal rights by every possible means including strike and sit-in, CTUWS condemns all the forms of violation of this legitimate right. CTUWS condemns in particular the police forces’ siege of the sitting-in workers and the threat to turn off the ventilation fans. The Centre for Trade Unions and Workers Services (CTUWS) calls upon all the concerned authorities and in particular the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Manpower and the Executive Authority that supervises the About Tartour Phosphate Project to urgently respond to these legitimate demands and find an immediate solution for this crisis.

Ergänzung des Berichts am 4.November 2004:

After negotiations between the local Trade Union Committee in Abu Tartur and the company. The workers got their salaries and have been promised to get all other demands afterwards.They disolved the strike on Tuseday 2nd November 2004.

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