The Ain Sokhna seaport in Suez was shut down for the eighth consecutive day on Friday as workers continued their strike.
Importers warned that the strike would cause a price hike for several commodities, including electrical appliances and canned food, and cause major damage to the national economy.
Mahmoud Ibrahim, an owner of an importing company based at the Ain Sokhna port, said large amounts of electrical appliances and other equipment enter through the port. Halting work would cause a shortage of these products in the market and inflate their prices, he added.
Hundreds of employees of Platinum Maritime Services, a seaport subcontractor, demand employment contracts with port managers Dubai-based DP World. So far, DP World has refused to hire them, though it has pledged to offer other services and privileges. Some workers reportedly started a hunger strike.
DP World issued a statement saying that Platinum Maritime Services threatened its employees with fines if they signed new contracts with other companies based at the port.
The company promised to provided legal support to employees of Platinum Maritime Services who wished to work for new employers, the statement added.
DP requested that workers who want to move to other companies sign new contracts before Sunday, and resume work in order to preserve their livelihood and stop harming the economy.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm