Suez prosecutor summoned Ain Sokhna Port workers, including unionists, for interrogation on Thursday regarding Dubai Ports World accusations that they incited a strike costing the company LE40 million in five days.
Two hundred workers staged a protest at the port in solidarity with their colleagues.
Hisham Mubarak Rights Organization and a number of independent unions also declared their support of the workers as they continued their strike into the seventh day.
Unionist Ali Selim stressed that he and his colleagues were surprised by the charges and by being summoned for interrogation. He stated that the workers had themselves filed a claim against DP World 11 days before the company submitted its complaint.
Selim said that the company was in violation of an agreement with the Ministry of Manpower, and had fired several employees without cause.
Media advisor at Dubai Ports, Nash'at al-Daihy, said they were not happy about pressing charges, but the company had lost LE40 million, while the state losses amounted to LE90 million for failure to collect customs duties and other revenues.
"I appeal to the workers to put the higher interests of their company, port and homeland above all else," Daihy said.
He said the workers were victims of powers seeking to destroy the Egyptian economy.
Ain Sokhna, near the southern end of the Suez Canal, is Cairo's main port for cargo from the Far East.
DP World signed an agreement with former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif in October 2007 that granted the company exclusive rights to run the port until 2032. DP World is the third largest port operator in the world.
Labor action forced DP World to temporarily shut down Ain Sokhna Port in February.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm