Tourah Cement lawsuit (re workers’ prison charge for illegal protest, Egypt)

Snapshot:

On 23 May 2017, 32 workers from Tourah Portland Cement Company, a subsidiary of HeidelbergCement in Egypt were arrested and brought to trial for assaulting a police captain, obstructing justice and using violence to resist authorities. This followed their alleged illegal protest against the company's decision to lay them off after years of service. In June 2017, the 32 workers were sentenced to three years in prison. Subsequently, a misdemeanour appeals court reduced the illegal protest sentence to two months.

 

 

Factual Background

In April 2017, security guards working at Tourah Portland Cement Company, a subsidiary of HeidelbergCement in Egypt announced a sit-in to protest the company's decision to lay them off after years of service (allegedly between 10 to 15 years of employment for some workers). The workers complained that the company failed to pay money owed to them, and treated them as contractors rather than employees, contrary to a previous court order from 2016.

The protest followed the company’s refusal to compensate the family of a security guard who was killed during an altercation with people thought to be stealing property from company grounds. The company board claimed the deceased security guard was not entitled to any compensation or insurance because he was a part-time employee. However, they later released a statement confirming that the late employee was in fact a permanent staff member who lost his life due to the lack of adequate security on its premises. In addition, the company released a statement confirming that the protesters were not staff members but subcontractors of a security firm that served until 30 April 2017, which is the expiry date of the contract the company had with the service provider. The decision not to renew the contract stemmed from a lack of competence to actually secure the premises.

Legal Theory

On 23 May 2017, 32 workers from Tourah Portland Cement Company in Egypt were arrested and brought to trial on 3 June on charges of assaulting a police captain, obstructing justice and using violence to resist authorities following their alleged illegal protest.

Legal Proceedings

On 4 June 2017, the Maadi Misdemeanors Court sentenced the 32 workers to three years in prison for their alleged illegal protest, the harshest penalties for such an alleged crime. Egyptian law stipulates a minimum of two years in prison and a fine of EGP 50,000 (USD 3,213) for those found guilty of illegal assembly.

On 18 June 2017, a misdemeanour appeals court reduced the illegal protest sentence to two months.

 

News items

 - Court Issues 3 year sentences for protesting Tourah Cement Company Workers, Marsad Egypt, 2017
- Egypt appeals court reduces sentence on workers jailed for illegal protest, Ahram Online (Egypt), 18 Jun 2017
- Police Arrest 32 workers following dispersal of sit-in at Tourah Cement Company, Mada Masr (Egypt), 23 May 2017

Suez Cement

- Response from Suez Cement with regards to concerns raised against Tourah Cement, 1 Jun 2017

Get RSS feed of these results

All components of this story

Item
21 June 2017

Egyptian court reduces prison sentence against Tourah Cement workers who protested dismissal

Author: Ahram Online (Egypt)

Egypt appeals court reduces sentence on workers jailed for illegal protest, 18 June 2017

A Cairo misdemeanour appeals court reduced on Sunday a three-year prison sentence against 32 factory workers to two-months in prison on charges of illegal protest. Earlier this month, 32 workers from Torah Portland Cement Company were handed prison sentences of three years after organising a 55-day sit-in that was dispersed by security forces in May. The workers were protesting the company's decision to lay them off after 10 to 15 years of service, saying the company had failed to pay money owed to them, treating them as contractors rather than employees. Egyptian law stipulates a minimum of two years in prison and a fine of EGP 50,000 for those found guilty of illegal assembly.

The misdemeanour appeals court’s verdict comes one day after the High Administrative Court ruled, in a labour dispute dating back to 2014, that peaceful strikes over work grievances are not a punishable offense, even in the absence of a legislation regulating the action [in the public sector].

Read the full post here

Company response
+ العربية - Hide

Author: مجموعة شركات السويس للأسمنت

(النص التالي ترجمة غير رسمية لرد مجموعة شركات السويس للأسمنت (SCGC) المرسل إلى مركز موارد قطاع الأعمال وحقوق الإنسان (BHRRC)في 1 يونيو 2017)

تعرضت شركة SCGC، وهي تابعة لشركة هايدلبرج سيمنت HeidelbergCement، لعدد من الادعاءات التي لا أساس لها حيث نود توضيح الوقائع على النحو التالي: لم يكن المتظاهرون من موظفي شركة طرة للأسمنت (TPCC) بل من شركة أمنية تم التعاقد معها لتقديم خدمات أمنية لمصنعنا حتى تاريخ 30 أبريل 2017 وهو موعد انتهاء عقدنا مع الشركة. تعرضت شركة TPCC لعمليات سطو مسلح على أيدي عصابات مسلحة وقد قتل أحد موظفينا خلال إحدى العمليات، مما دفع الشركة لإعادة النظر في ترتيباتها الأمنية وعدم تجديد العقد المبرم مع الشركة الأمنية وذلك بعد انتهائه في 30 أبريل 2017، في ضوء عجز الشركة عن تأمين ممتلكات TPCC وموظفيها.

ومع ذلك، فقد قام موظفوا شركة الأمن (والذين لم تكن تربطهم أي علاقة تعاقدية بشركة TPCC) بتنظيم اعتصام في مقر الشركة استمر لمدة 55 يوماً. وقد هدد المحتجون – المتعدّون على أملاك الشركة – موظفي الشركة، وعطلوا أعمال الصيانة، ومنعوا المهندسين والعمال من أداء مهامهم. وعليه، اضطرت شركة TPCC لإبلاغ الشرطة (النيابة العامة) بالحادث مما أدى إلى إصدار أوامر باعتقال 4 متظاهرين. وقد تواجدت قوات الشرطة من أجل تنفيذ أوامر الاعتقال الصادرة عن النيابة العامة. وقد قام العمال المتظاهرين التابعين لشركة الأمن بمقاومة قوات الشرطة وحاولوا منعهم من تنفيذ قرار النيابة العامة. كما أدى الاشتباك بين المتظاهرين والشرطة إلى المزيد من الاعتقالات، بشكل منفصل تمامًا عن ولاية الشركة أو تحكمها.

Download the full document here

Item
+ العربية - Hide

Author: مجموعة شركات السويس للأسمنت

(النص التالي ترجمة غير رسمية لرد مجموعة شركات السويس للأسمنت (SCGCالمرسل إلى مركز موارد قطاع الأعمال وحقوق الإنسان (BHRRC)في يونيو 2017)

تعرضت شركة SCGC، وهي تابعة لشركة هايدلبرج سيمنت HeidelbergCement، لعدد من الادعاءات التي لا أساس لها حيث نود توضيح الوقائع على النحو التالي: لم يكن المتظاهرون من موظفي شركة طرة للأسمنت (TPCC) بل من شركة أمنية تم التعاقد معها لتقديم خدمات أمنية لمصنعنا حتى تاريخ 30 أبريل 2017 وهو موعد انتهاء عقدنا مع الشركة. تعرضت شركة TPCC لعمليات سطو مسلح على أيدي عصابات مسلحة وقد قتل أحد موظفينا خلال إحدى العمليات، مما دفع الشركة لإعادة النظر في ترتيباتها الأمنية وعدم تجديد العقد المبرم مع الشركة الأمنية وذلك بعد انتهائه في 30 أبريل 2017، في ضوء عجز الشركة عن تأمين ممتلكات TPCC وموظفيها.

ومع ذلك، فقد قام موظفوا شركة التأمين (والذين لم تكن تربطهم أي علاقة تعاقدية بشركة TPCC) بتنظيم اعتصام في مقر الشركة استمر لمدة 55 يوماً. وقد هدد المحتجون – المتعدّون على أملاك الشركة – موظفي الشركة، وعطلوا أعمال الصيانة، ومنعوا المهندسين والعمال من أداء مهامهم. وعليه، اضطرت شركة TPCC لإبلاغ الشرطة (النيابة العامة) بالحادث مما أدى إلى إصدار أوامر باعتقال 4 متظاهرين. وقد تواجدت قوات الشرطة من أجل تنفيذ أوامر الاعتقال الصادرة عن النيابة العامة. وقد قام العمال المتظاهرين التابعين لشركة الأمن بمقاومة قوات الشرطة وحاولوا منعهم من تنفيذ قرار النيابة العامة. كما أدى الاشتباك بين المتظاهرين والشرطة إلى المزيد من الاعتقالات، بشكل منفصل تمامًا عن ولاية الشركة أو تحكمها.

Download the full document here

Company response
4 June 2017

Response from Suez Cement with regards to concerns raised against Tourah Cement

Author: Suez Cement Group of Companies (SCGC)

[BHRRC received the following response from Suez Cement Group of Companies (SCGC) on 1 June 2017]

SCGC, subsidiary of HeidelbergCement, was subject to a number of ungrounded allegations; whereby, we would like to clarify the actual facts, as follows: The protesters were not Tourah Cement (TPCC) staff members, but subcontractors of a security firm that served our plant till 30/04/2017, which is the expiry date of our contract with the service provider. TPCC was subject to armed robberies by armed gangs, and most recently a TPCC staff member was shot dead. This prompted the Company to reconsider its security arrangements and not to renew the contract of the security service provider after its expiry on 30-04-2017, in the light of its inability to provide security service for the Company's property and staff. However, the subcontractors who did not have any contractual relationship with TPCC started a sit-in at the company’s premises that continued for 55 days. The protesting persons (intruders) have threatened TPCC staff, interrupted maintenance works and prevented engineers and workers from performing their duties. TPCC therefore found itself obliged to report the incident to the police (Prosecution) and arrest warrants were issued for four protesters.

Download the full document here

Article
3 June 2017

Egypt: Arrest of workers following sit-in at Tourah Cement Company

Author: Mada Masr (Egypt)

Update: Police arrest 32 workers following dispersal of sit-in at Tourah Cement Company, 23 May 2017

Security forces dispersed a sit-in held by workers demanding full-time contracts, as per a previous court ruling, at the privately owned Tourah Cement Company in southern Cairo on Monday. They detained 22 workers during the dispersal, arresting 10 more that evening and issuing warrants for an additional three.Lawyer Haitham Mohamedein told Mada Masr that the 32 arrested workers were detained overnight, and are currently being held at the Maadi and Dar al-Salam police stations. They have been referred to trial, set for May 28, on charges of assaulting a police captain, obstructing justice and using violence to resist authorities.The workers did not resist arrest or assault police, nor was the sit-in dispersed violently, Mohamedein explained, adding that they should not have been detained for peacefully demonstrating … Seventy five full-time security personnel have been protesting for 55 days demanding full-time contracts, and the retroactive payment of wages. Some have worked full time at the company for up to 10-15 years on temporary or part-time contracts, which don’t carry the same benefits or employment rights as full-time contracts, with wages calculated on a different basis.

Read the full post here