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Egyptian rights groups, community members, and laborers impacted by a hazardous cement plant financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) filed a complaint on April 8, 2015 with the body’s independent grievance mechanism. The grievance mechanism, called the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman, or CAO, has now deemed the complaint eligible to move through the grievance process. The complaint is against Alexandria Portland Cement Company’s (APCC) cement plant located in Alexandria, Egypt, which the IFC finances through an equity stake in Titan Group subsidiary Alexandria Development Limited (ADL). As a client of the IFC, Titan Group subsidiary Alexandria Portland Cement Company must comply with the IFC’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards, which it is accused of violating in a number of areas.
Environmental pollution from the cement plant and its associated harm on residents and workers’ health, lives, and livelihoods is a major grievance. The plant’s location ten meters from a residential area has resulted in the local community’s exposure to harmful emissions and dust produced from the cement manufacturing process. As a consequence, increased rates of severe, chronic respiratory ailments have been reported in the adult and child populations. The complaint also documents violations of labor and workers’ rights through a campaign of violence and intimidation against the workforce to prevent its organizing activities. Discriminatory employment practices have also been alleged against the company, including the denial of equal pay and benefits to subcontracted workers despite their performing the same task as formal employees, and in some cases working for the company for upwards of twelve years.
For further information on the complaint, please see Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights’ press release.
To learn more about the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman’s grievance process, visit their webpage, here.
The original complaint submitted to the CAO by Egyptian NGOs can also be viewed here.