Egypt - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said that yesterday was a tragic day for the National Cement Company’s workers and their families; as they have lost their jobs following the decision to liquidate the company and defer action on workers’ dues and value of compensation after spending years serving the company.
The regular General Assembly of the National Cement Company- a public sector company- was held at about 1 PM yesterday, and decided to liquidate the company and that a legal liquidator is to be appointed to handle it. It also decided to postpone any action concerning the determination of the amount of compensation given to the company’s workers as well as the fate of workers under pensionable age.
It is noteworthy that the Holding Company for Chemical Industries is the sole body that controls the General Assembly’s decisions; after it acquired about 99.4 of the company’s shares while the rest of the shareholders own only 0.6% of the company’s shares, so the decision of liquidation was predetermined earlier. This move came after the National Cement Company’s regular General Assembly approved, on May 24, the decision issued by the Holding Company to write off the National Cement from the stock exchange in return that the company buys the rest of its shareholders’ shares.
ANHRI’s Freedom of Expression for Labor and Social Movements said: “The National Cement is only a company of machines and facilities but it is the livelihood of thousands of workers. So, we warn against the layoffs without providing workers alternative job opportunities; because the layoffs decision- even with the payment of compensation- poses an undue risk not only to the worker and their families but also to the community.
It added, “The meeting held yesterday by the General Assembly of the National Company is merely a fictitious meeting to bring up a decision that has previously been made by a certain authority to liquidate the company and terminate their jobs in preparing for the selling of the company’s lands. The decision also constitutes a continuation of the monopolization of power and administrative corruption collusion which, in turn, led to the losses the company suffers. In past months, we have witnessed some games of bureaucracy being played to prepare for today’s decision, which were the reason behind the Cement Company’s withdrawal from the stock market and its approval on the holding company’s buying shareholders’ proportion, leading the holding company to be the sole authority that controls the fate of the company and its workers”.
In recent years, the company has been subjected to administrative recession that was aiming at its liquidation. Some serious violations and breaches have been already monitored in the company’s administration, and as a result, it was referred to the Public Prosecution on the 4th of March to investigate into the matter. Then, the company was subjected to an organized media smear campaign based on allegations of the “company’s losses and the high wages of its employees”, despite the fact that workers are not responsible for the losses, rather they are willing to make gains and create profit on the condition that the administration is to be reformed.