On 14/8/2010, Ayman Taher, Mohamed Taher, Tarek AlSayed, Mohamed Abd El Mohaymen and Walid workers at Helwan Engineering Industries – formerly military factory 99-were referred to the military prosecution of Haram district on labor protests in the factory after one worker was killed early August in an explosion of a Nitrogen cylinder. The prosecution decided to hold them 4 days on investigation. They were presented to prosecution once more on 17/8/2010 and the decision was to keep them in custody . There is a chance of keeping them in prison if a custody renewal decision was issued on 21/8/2010.
The workers are charged of stirring riots in a military area, contacting media and assault of chairman of the board.
” We were shocked that the administration referred 25 workers to investigation at the National Authority of military production , after which 5 workers were referred to military prosecution” , a worker said.
The workers union for military production concealed all incidents whether those pertaining to the deceased worker , the labor protests or referring workers to investigation at the authority or military prosecution. Further, the union would not declare the names of the workers to the press of human rights organizations . As for the General Workers Union, they chose silence so far.
Following the protests, Sayed Mashaal , minister of military production dismissed General Mohamed Amin , factory chairman of the board as his policy resulted in killing the worker Ahmend Abdel Hadi ,37 years, and injuring 6 others when a Nitrogen cylinder exploded on 3/8/2010 . General Fawzy AlSakka , of military factory 27, replaced the expelled chairman .In a step to calm the raging workers , the minister changed contracts of temporary laborers who worked for 5 years to permanent ones and issued a decision to offer contracts to day laborers who spent 2 years at the factory 99. He also disbursed EGP 50,000 to the family of the deceased worker. These quick remedies managed to calm the workers down , yet they were outraged once more after some of them were prosecuted and custody decision were issued against them.
Workers detained Mohamed Amin in the factory and news scatter about assaulting him. Workers said that an earlier Nitrogen explosion took place in July 2010 leaving some injured workers. When the workers demanded Amin to take certain measures to provide a safe and healthy work environment , he mocked them saying, ” Just keep working . It is no big deal of one or two of you got killed”.
After the last explosion happened , the workers were outraged and the riots started
Work relations in military production factories are subject to labor law and the employment regulation in military factories . Legal status of laborers in military factories is civil despite their work in a military area. Work disputes are to resolved before normal civil judiciary not the military one. According to international treaties, it is possible not to have labor unions in military or police institutes , however ,military production factories in Egypt are controlled by civil law, labor law and labor unions law. Thereby, workers can form their unions and there exists a general union for military production workers in 90, Galaa St., Cairo . The union is an affiliate to the general union of Egypt work unions.
The undersigned organizations declare complete solidarity with workers’ demands for a healthy and safe work place and request to refer all instigations in incidents regarding the workers in custody to the general prosecution.
The Egyptian Center For Economic And Social Rights.
Children of The Earth Foundation For Human Rights.
Coordinating Committee For The Rights And Freedoms of Workers And Unions.
Campaign For Trade Union Freedoms (Ma’an).
Socialist Studies Center
Hisham Mubarak Law Center.
Preparatory Workers Committee.
Afaq Ishtraqia .
People’s Movement For Democratic Change (Hashd).
Independent Real Estate Tax Union .
Freedoms Committee , Press Syndicate.
Prisoners of Conscience Defense Committee