Egypt: Front Line Defenders report claims Naval Group's presence during strike, lockout, mass firings & trials of labour rights defenders; Naval Group responds

Trade unionists, labour rights lawyers, and workers organising strikes in Egypt were facing torture, mass firings and trials in military courts, facing the worst n level of violence and retribution against labour rights activism in decades, according to  Front Line Defenders. The new report claims French company Naval Group, majority-owned by the French state, is involved in a shipbuilding contract worth approximately €1 billion with the Egyptian Ministry of Defense, at an Alexandria factory owned and operated by the Egyptian military. Staff from the French company were allegedly present at the Shipyard during the strike, lockout, mass firings and ongoing trial of human rights defenders and workers. Naval Group's response is available below.

Get RSS feed of these results

All components of this story

Article
29 January 2019

Egypt: Front Line Defenders report claims Naval Group's presence during strike, lockout, mass firings & trials of labour rights defenders

Author: Front Line Defenders (Ireland)

"Report Reveals Egyptian Labour Rights Defenders Facing “Worst Repression in Decades”, 14 Jan 2019

Trade unionists, labour rights lawyers, and workers organising strikes in Egypt are facing torture, mass firings and trials in military courts, according to a new report released...by Front Line Defenders... The report features a special investigation into the detention and ongoing military trial of 26 civilian labourers at Egypt’s Alexandria Shipyard, where French company Naval Group (majority-owned by the French state) is currently engaged in a contract with the Egyptian Ministry of Defense worth approximately €1 billion. As increasing numbers of working class Egyptians descend into poverty, labour rights activism demanding safe working conditions, minimum wage and freedom of assembly is critical. The government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has punished labour rights defenders with arrests, disappearances, beatings in detention, intimidation by State Security officers, withholding of salaries and benefits, mass firings and trials in military courts. Several activists who have participated in factory strikes since the 1960s told Front Line Defenders that in their lifetimes, they had never faced this level of violence and retribution against labour rights activism... Staff from the French company were present at the Shipyard during the strike, lockout, mass firings and ongoing trial of HRDs and workers. As the military trial progressed, French defense contracts with Egypt have increased to a value of €3 billion...

Read the full post here

Company response
29 January 2019

Naval Group's response

Author: Naval Group

We are not indifferent to the situation of the employees of our partner Alexandra Shipyards. Naval Group has a strong ethics and compliance policy which is applied rigourously in all its international subsidiaries. The Egyptian yard is not a subcontractor of Naval Group. The Egyptian Ministry of Defence has awarded a direct contract to the Alexandria shipyard in Egypt. Alexandria Shipyard (ASY) is a public shipyard whose staff are managed in accordance with Egyptian law. We have no contractual relationship allowing us to intervene in matters related to its workforce. We do not interfere in internal affairs. Naval Group's teams (15 to 25 employees) ensure the transfer of technology. Naval Group's goal in Egypt is to develop excellent technical skills in order to create an autonomous capacity for the construction and maintenance of ships in the long term. Naval Group's action is in line with the strict framework of French regulations on the sale of weapons for the export market. No sale of naval systems is carried out without prior authorization issued by an interministerial commission placed under the Prime Minister and chaired by the Secretary General of Defence and National Security (Interministerial Commission for the Study of Exports of War Materials (CIEEMG)). Naval Group scrupulously complies with the provisions of international treaties and local laws in force in which the company operates with the highest level of compliance.