About 300 laborers in Sukari gold mine near the southern Red Sea coastal town of Marsa Alam decided to embark on hunger strike last Saturday. They attributed the strike to poor salaries, increased working hours, wrongdoings by company officials, and the fact that the company failed to sign permanent contracts with them.
Workers called on Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahmy to interfere in the dispute and assume supervision off the mine, pointing to the need for the presence of armed forces in the region to prevent the theft of gold.
“We called on the armed forces to come and secure the area,” said Ali Serour, a company employee who supervises work at the mine.
Esmat al-Raj'ee, General Manager of Sukari Corporation, said that work in the mine did not stop and that the number of strikers failed to exceed 100 workers.
Al-Raj'ee revealed that rumors surrounding the issue caused a 30% decline in the value of company shares in global stock markets for gold, and that the company may cancel the whole project–which would cause all employees and workers of the company to lose their jobs–due to the lack of foreign investment.
He pointed out that the Central Bank of Egypt refused to buy the gold because they already had ample reserves, and that therefore the company must sell gold to sources outside Egypt.