Workers at ExxonMobil's Egypt facilities on strike

Strikers demand permanent and direct jobs from US supermajor

Workers at ExxonMobil Egypt facilities have been on strike since 7 April. GETTY IMAGES
Workers at ExxonMobil Egypt facilities have been on strike since 7 April. GETTY IMAGES

Workers at ExxonMobil Egypt facilities have been on strike since 7 April, according to Ahram Online, demand to be hired directly by the US supermajor under permanent contracts with a view to receiving improved pay, conditions and pensions.

Around 70 workers at the mineral oils El Asher in 10th of Ramadan city are refusing to work until there is an end what "contracts of forced labour or tyranny." The workers at the Exxon mineral oils facility are subcontracted, and do not receive the job security, pension provision of Exxon staff who are hired directly.

Workers at Exxon’s lubricants facory in Zezenia, Alexandria, are also reportedly on strike.

"We don’t get any rights, no social insurance, no medical care, we received a profit share for the first time in 2011,” Fathi El-Sherif, a worker at 10th of Ramadan told Ahram Online, “but it is lower than our rights."

"They have legal contracts with companies making outsourcing for ExxonMobil as well as for other companies,” insists Nehad Shelbaya, head of foreign relations in ExxonMobil Egypt. “They are offered good salaries, healthcare and other benefits."

Ahram Online reports banners saying "the free people of 10th of Ramadan ask for equality between all Mobil workers" around the plant. There are reportedly no signs of violence or sabotage.

A union representative accuses Exxon of changing its subcontractors periodically specifically to avoid incurring responsibilities on pay and pensions to Egyptian workers, by keeping them on rolling temporary contracts.

"We were working under a company called Al-Magd that was closed out,” Tarek Darwish, a member of the independent trade union of the company who has worked at Exxon facilities in Egypt for nine years, told Ahram. “Many workers didn't get their end of service remuneration."

Exxon has around 400 staff on its Egyptian payroll, the vast majority of whom are Egyptian, according to the company’s website. The company has participated in education and community relations programs in Egypt. Critics say that ExxonMobil Egypt only hires engineering, administration and supervisory staff, and outsources the rest to companies with offer inferior pay and conditions.
ExxonMobil was not immediately available for comment.

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