Dismissed NATGAS workers will boycott elections as crisis continues
YOUM7/Ahmed Maarouf
By NOURHAN MAGDI

CAIRO: Frustrated laborers at the National Gas Company (NATGAS) decided to boycott the upcoming presidential elections over the continuing crisis of their “arbitrary” dismissal.

According to their Saturday statement, the laborers will not participate in the balloting on May 26 and 27 and they will call for other workers at different companies to boycott as well until their dismissals are rescinded.

A number of laborers at NATGAS told The Cairo Post on May 15 that they were pressured by the administration to either sign mass resignations or be arbitrarily dismissed although there were no logical reasons to do so.

The workers issued a release on their Facebook page on May 15 demanding interim President Adly Mansour, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, and presidential candidates Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and Hamdeen Sabbahi to intercede and sto the dismissal.

“We have been working in this country for 15 years with contracts and never complained about work, although we’ve been assigned with many tasks in departments different from ours, including the emergency section,” worker Rabei Abdel Hady, 48, told The Cairo Post Thursday.

Most workers said that they are hard workers and the status of their health is well, their ages ranging between 30 and 40. “Their oppressive decision to throw us out will be devastating since we are the breadwinners of our families,” Abdel Hady said.

More than 80 laborers were arbitrarily dismissed so far, while others did not receive any notifications but were banned from signing the attendance sheets.

Safwat Hussein, a 38-year-old worker at the company’s Beheira branch, told The Cairo Post that “none of the officials yet responded to their complaints.” He said he heard news that the administration wants to appoint new laborers with low salaries.

“I have worked at the company since 1999 and if I resigned, I would not get a pension,” Mohamed Hleil, 38, a worker told The Cairo Post. “What is the law that gives them the right to dismiss us?”

“The administration told us that the decision is based on law 12 from 2003 that gives the owner the right to dismiss workers even if there is a judicial verdict saying they are not charged and can return to work,” Hleil said.

Head of Egypt’s Laborers for Development and Human Rights Ahmed Gamal el-Din told The Cairo Post that law 12 was flawed and he demanded “the ratification of the new law according to criteria adopted in the new 2014 constitution, which bans the dismissal of laborers.”

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