Protests Erupt against Closure of Egyptian Iron & Steel Company
Egypt Independent reported that Egyptian Iron and Steel Company (Hadisolb) employees on Sunday organized a protest in front of the company’s headquarters against its decision to liquidate and demanded that the government intervene to stop the move. The workers’ demands include an immediate halt of the government’s decisions. They also called for the state to help modernize the company and preserve its assets, which are estimated at EGP 120 billion. Around 2,000 workers were participating in the sit-in.
Egyptian Ahram separately reported that The Egyptian Trade Union Federation has also voiced its rejection to the decision of liquidating the Egyptian Iron and Steel Company. ETUF called on all concerned bodies to overturn the decision and form an experienced national committee to look into the step's ramifications. The ETUF said the company and other Egyptian business companies serve the process of development and the establishment of national mega projects in the country. The workers vowed to keep production going and not disturb shift rotations at company. They also demanded an investigation into allegations of corruption in the company, keeping in minds its abilities and the expertise of its workers. It also called for considering the studies of developing the 67 year-old company and increasing its production in a way that lives up with its history as a leading company in the Middle East.
A member of the Board of Directors of the Holding Company for Metal Industries Khaled al-Feki said that this step will destroy one of the largest industrial institutes in the Middle East, which has proudly developed many of Egypt’s national projects including the High Dam and succeeded at establishing new iron and steel companies in various other Arab nations such as Algeria and Saudi Arabia.
Responding to the crisis, Egypt’s Minister of Public Enterprises Sector Mr Hisham Tawfik said that the Iron and Steel Company’s losses had been increasing over the last 23 years and has incurred EGP 9 billion (USD 572 million) worth of losses. He said “There is no alternative but to shut the company down. Although the factories affiliated with the company will be shut down, the mines will continue to operate as usual.”
Eltabin Helwan in Cairo based state owned integrated steel mill was started in 1957. Its primary production equipment’s include 4 blast furnaces, 4 basic oxygen furnaces & two 12 tonne electric arc furnaces. It produces hot-rolled, cold-rolled, rebar & sections etc. It employs around 14,000 workers.