For the fourth time, “Care Service” workers at the peacekeeping camp go on strike for the sixth day, protesting against salary reductions despite promises of an increase
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For the fourth time, “Care Service” workers at the peacekeeping camp go on strike for the sixth day, protesting against salary reductions despite promises of an increase

On Monday, January 8, 2024, dozens of workers affiliated with “Care Services” in the multinational force camp and observers “peacekeeping” in Sharm El Sheikh, South Sinai, continued their sit-in and strike for for the sixth consecutive day which is considered their fourth strike. They protest against the deteriorating living conditions, reduced wages, and services within the camp. Additionally, they express dissatisfaction with a 33% reduction in their salaries in the last month, as well as suspicions of corruption in the company’s management.

Several striking workers told the Egyptian Center that they were surprised by the reduction of their salaries by 33% for the last month, despite their demands for an increase and the disbursement of their rightful allowances and bonuses. They explained that the commander of the peacekeeping force in Egypt visited their strike headquarters and informed them that the company officials had presented documents confirming the full disbursement of their dues, a claim denied by the workers.

The strikers explained that the company’s management canceled the temporary 57% increase, which was scheduled for them by the General Manager of the Multinational Force and Observers, Elizabeth Debel. This increase, linked to the adjustment of their salaries, concluded in December. The workers confirmed that one of the officials in “Care Service” threatened them with actions, and peacekeeping forces would prevent them from entering if their strike persists. However, one of the officers responsible for the multinational force in Egypt denied this, assuring them that their demands would be conveyed to the headquarter of the Multinational Force and Observers in Rome.

The workers pointed out that the responsible officer asked them to choose six representatives to meet with the General Manager of the Multinational Force and Observers and present their demands to her. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 9, 2024, a matter currently under discussion among the workers. They affirmed their commitment to continuing the strike until their demands are met.

Workers of “Care Service” at the peacekeeping camp in Egypt had previously ended a two-day strike and protest at the end of November 2023, expressing dissatisfaction with low wages and services.

According to workers from “Care Service,” the decision to end the strike came after a meeting held yesterday with the peacekeeping camp commander for Sheikh Zayed, Sharm El Sheikh, and Arish, Ivan Williams. Williams promised to address their crises and meet their demands in stages over the next three weeks, a commitment that has not been fulfilled to date.

One worker clarified that workers from the Arish camp sent an email to the peacekeeping forces’ management, revealing that they received threats from a senior official in the company if they resorted to organizing protest activities within the workplace. He pointed out that Arish camp workers are demanding the same rights as their counterparts in the Sharm El Sheikh camp, as communicated by the peacekeeping force commander, awaiting a response.

It is worth noting that dozens of workers affiliated with “Care Service” at the peacekeeping camp in Sharm El Sheikh and Sheikh Zayed started a sit-in and strike on November 26, 2023. They protested against the decline in their living conditions, wages, and services within the camp, in addition to suspicions of corruption.

Work within the camp came to a halt after approximately 400 workers, providing various services such as plumbing, maintenance workshops, cleaning services, cooking, laundry, and the market, went on strike. Workers in the Arish region received threats of dismissal if they participated in the strike, according to some of their colleagues.

Several protesting workers pointed out the decline in their monthly salaries, with an average reaching 4000 Egyptian pounds for those with up to 25 years of service, while cleaning workers earn no more than 2000 pounds.

One of the workers explained that they haven’t received a salary increase since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020. He added that, before contract renewal, the international force approved a 50% salary increase, which was not disbursed even after the contract renewal in early October. The workers were surprised by a decision from “Care Service” management to increase the salary by only 25%.

Moreover, the international force approved a dry meal allowance of up to $12 per day, but the company provided them with a monthly dry meal allowance of only 300 pounds.

Furthermore, the protesters demand transparency in promotions and grades, as well as healthcare guarantees. They point out that the material of the official uniform provided by the company, Kier Services, causes them skin problems. Additionally, they express concerns about inadequately equipped and inhumane housing, as they describe it. They affirm that they will not compromise on a 100% increase in their salaries, considering that many of them have been working since the presence of international forces in the early eighties, while the salaries of some do not exceed 3000 Egyptian pounds.

It is worth mentioning that the employees of the peacekeeping camp, affiliated with Kier Services, organized strikes in 2011 and 2012 due to the aforementioned demands.