Workers demand company’s restoration to public sector

Dozens of workers from the Nasr Company for Boilers and Pressure Vessels on Thursday organized a protest outside the cabinet building to demand the government implement a court ruling ordering that the company be returned to the state.

An Egyptian court on 21 September ordered the return of three privatized companies to state ownership. Employees celebrated the ruling.

El Nasr Boilers and Pressure Vessels Manufacturing was sold in 1994 as part of a privatization program to sell public companies to Egyptian and foreign investors.

The case filed against the El Nasr sale said the company was sold to foreign investors and an Egyptian partner for US$17 million, which observers say represented only a quarter of the company's true value.

The protesting workers said that investors arbitrarily fired 193 workers after the court ruling on 12 September ordered that the company be returned to the public sector.
A number of workers said the Ministry of Manpower would discuss their demands on Sunday to reach a solution.

Meanwhile, a senior official in the Finance Ministry, who requested anonymity, said his ministry is willing to provide the necessary funds to implement the court rulings.

The official said the ministry was waiting till the government and investors reached an agreement concerning the estimated price at which the companies were sold, and to know whether foreign investors would resort to international arbitration.

He added that his ministry "will implement the court orders even if it was forced to borrow money to compensate the value of these companies to the investors, despite the nearly LE134 billion state budget deficit." He refused, however, to disclose the amount of liquidity that would be needed.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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