Egypt: Arrest and dismissal of protesting workers at IFFCO Egypt

A sit-in was held at the privately owned IFFCO oil products factory in Egypt in the last week of December 2016. The sit-in called for equal distribution of bonuses between workers and supervisors. A number of workers participating in the sit-in were arrested by the police, according to a workers’ statement published in local newspapers. Nineteen workers were referred to a minor offense court but were acquitted of charges of inciting a strike, halting production, and sabotaging factory properties. According to the local union committee, 27 workers have been barred from entering the company, including nine members of the local union, including Bakr.

BHRRC approached the company's headquarters in the UAE on multiple occasions but has not yet received a response.

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12 February 2017

Egypt: Charges against IFFCO and Egyptian Fertilizers Company (EFC) workers for protesting; with comments from EFC

Author: Human Rights Watch

Egypt: Workers Charged over Protests, 9 February 2017

Egyptian prosecutors should drop all charges against at least 26 workers who were arrested and charged in recent months in connection with peaceful strikes and protests, Human Rights Watch said today. The parliament should also revise a new trade unions draft law to fully legalize independent unions and amend penal code provisions that criminalize the right to organize and strike. Since May 2016, police have arrested scores of striking workers from various industries. Most were later released, but prosecutors have referred dozens for trial, including some before a military court. In December 2016, security forces arrested at least 55 striking workers at the Egyptian Fertilizers Company, and prosecutors summoned eight for investigation. [A representative for the Egyptian Fertilizers Company told Human Rights Watch that police tried for 10 days to convince workers occupying control rooms to leave before “very peacefully” ending the sit-in. The workers returned to work the following morning. He said that halting production was a crime and acknowledged that prosecutors summoned several workers, but said the administration had not made complaints against them during the investigations. Workers denied the administration’s allegations that they stopped the production or occupied the control room.]…The January strike in Suez followed a sit-in at the privately owned IFFCO oil products factory in the last week of December seeking an equal distribution of bonuses between workers and supervisors. The workers decided to strike after Interior Ministry officers arrested two members of the IFFCO Independent Workers’ Union who had been participating in the sit-in, according to a workers’ statement published in local newspapers.

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Author: Human Rights Watch

مصر: عمال يواجهون اتهامات بسبب الاحتجاج، 9 فبراير 2017

على النيابة المصرية إسقاط كافة الاتهامات المنسوبة إلى 26 عاملا على  الأقل اعتُقلوا واتُهموا خلال الأشهر الأخيرة على صلة بإضرابات ومظاهرات سلمية. على البرلمان مراجعة مشروع قانون النقابات الجديد بما يضفي الشرعية على النقابات المستقلة، وأن يعدّل مواد قانون العقوبات المُجرّمة لحق التنظيم والإضراب. اعتقلت الشرطة منذ مايو/أيار 2016 عشرات العمال المحتجين من مختلف الصناعات. أُخلي سبيل أغلبهم، لكن أحالت النيابة العشرات للمحاكمة، وبعضهم أمام محاكم عسكرية... في ديسمبر/كانون الأول 2016 اعتقلت قوات الأمن على الأقل 55 عاملا مضربا في شركة "المصرية للأسمدة"، واستدعت النيابة 8 للتحقيق... (قال ممثل عن الشركة المصرية للأسمدة لـ هيومن رايتس ووتش إن الشرطة حاولت طوال 10 أيام إقناع العمال الذين يحتلون غرف التحكم بالمغادرة قبل أن تقوم بإنهاء الاعتصام "بغاية السلمية". عاد العمال إلى عملهم صباح اليوم التالي. قال إن إيقاف الإنتاج جريمة وإن النيابة استدعت عدة عمال، لكن الشركة لم تتقدم بأي شكاوى خلال التحقيقات. أنكر العمال مزاعم الإدارة بأنهم أوقفوا الإنتاج أو احتلوا غرف التحكم)... بدأ إضراب يناير/كانون الثاني في السويس إثر اعتصام في مصنع "إفكو" لمنتجات الزيوت التابع للقطاع الخاص في الأسبوع الأخير من ديسمبر/كانون الأول، للمطالبة بالمساواة في توزيع المكافآت على العمال والمشرفين. قرر العمال الإضراب بعد اعتقال ضباط بالداخلية عضوين من نقابة عمال إفكو المستقلة، كانا قد شاركا في الاعتصام، بحسب بيان للعمال نُشر في صحف محلية.

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Author: محمد عاطف، البداية (مصر)

بعد براءة عمال افكو.. "عايزين نعيش" تطالب باستكمال التضامن لعودة 26 عامل للعمل، 30 يناير 2017

طالبت الحملة الشعبية لمواجهة سياسات الإفقار "عايزين نعيش" بالتضامن مع عمال شركة إفكو للزيوت بمحافظة السويس، والمطالبة بعودتهم للعمل، وذلك بعد حكم البراءة الصادر أمس الأحد، من تهم التحريض على الإضراب وتخريب منشآت بالشركة. وقالت الحملة في بيان لها اليوم، أن العمال كانو قد اعتصموا مطالبين بالتوزيع العادل لعلاوة غلاء المعيشة، التي سعوا إليها بكل الطرق، وصولاً لمخاطبة صاحب الشركة في الإمارات، والذي بدوره أقر مبلغ 800 ألف جنيه كعلاوة غلاء معيشة شهرية للعاملين بالشركة، ولكن العمال فوجئوا بأن 80% من هذا المبلغ تم توزيعه علي العضو المنتدب والمديرين...أوضح البيان أنه تم فض اعتصام العمال بالقوة من خلال حملة مكونة من 52 عربة أمن مركزي، وتم اقتحام عدد من منازل العمال، ومن ضمنهم 11 أعضاء مجلس إدارة النقابة المستقلة، الذين تم توجيه إليهم الاتهامات السابق ذكرها، كما منع من دخول الشركة 26 عامل تمهيداً لفصلهم من العمل ضمنهم الـ 19.

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29 January 2017

Egypt: Arrests and prosecution facing labour action in private and public sector companies

Author: Jano Charbel, Mada Masr (Egypt)

State responds to recent labor protests with heightened repression and exceptional legal measures, 24 January 2017

The latest crackdown took place in the Suez Governorate on January 2, when police forcefully dispersed a sit-in at the privately owned IFFCO Oils Company … arresting scores of workers, 21 of whom are now standing trial for “instigating a strike,” while two remain jailed pending investigations … Seoud Omar, a Suez-based trade unionist says … “police are clearly acting on behalf of business interests and against workers’ basic rights”… Ahmed Bakr, the secretary general of the Independent Union of IFFCO Employees, says that since January 2, 27 workers have been barred from entering the company ... Another notable security crackdown took place on December 5, when police raided the Egyptian Fertilizers Company (EFC) and Egyptian Basic Industries Corporation (EBIC)… Following the forced dispersal of these strikes, a half-page notice was published in state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper, asserting that “Workers consider themselves to be strategic partners with the owners of capital.” … Yasser al-Geneidy, who was arrested in the raid, points out that he wrote this apology together with a co-worker, under pressure from company administrators. “We were told to formulate this apology as a precondition to being reinstated,” he says.

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15 January 2017

Egypt: Detention of workers after strike against International Foodstuffs Co (IFFCO)

Author: Adham Youssef, Daily News (Egypt)

Two IFFCO workers in Suez detained on charges of striking, 3 January 2017

The Suez Prosecution ordered Wednesday the detention of two workers of the IFFCO Suez Company [on charges of inciting other workers to strike. The prosecution also ordered the release of another 12 workers on a bail of EGP 200 each. The management of the company filed police reports against the workers, accusing them of rioting and violence.

Since last Friday, workers had escalated a demonstration into an open-ended strike, in protest of the immense gap between salaries obtained by workers and those obtained by employees in managerial positions. They demanded justice in the distribution of salaries. The workers also protested not getting issued bonuses, especially after the latest price hikes on different goods and services.

Last December, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) released a report documenting about 1,736 protests related to social and economic issues during 2016. The report said that most of the protests were carried out by labour movements. In the second half of 2016, most protests were driven by economic demands.

[BHRRC contacted IFFCO on 19 January 2017 seeking their response. BHRRC has yet to receive a response from IFFCO]

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