For the third time, the management of Universal didn’t attend today for negotiation and settlement of the conflict at the central office of the Ministry of Manpower
The management of Universal repeatedly delayed the payment of financial dues of workers, who amount to approximately 3500 workers, leading them to go into several strike actions in the past years until a collective labour agreement was written under the patronage of the Ministry of Manpower and the Federation Unions of Workers in Engineering, Metal and Electric Industries last October. Most important terms of that Agreement were:
The management of the Company was to pay the salary of the month of August for workers on Sunday, the 10th of October 2021.
The Company violated that agreement leading worker Assem Afifi to end his life in February, because he could not fulfill the needs of his family. Workers became angry after that horrible incident, and the management reiterated its promises to resolve the crisis but it didn’t.
Then, the crisis escalated when the management announced an administrative publication that the wage of April would be paid in two installments: the first installment on the 19th of May and the second one on the 31st of May. Workers completely refused this and insisted on receiving their full wage. So, the Independent Union of Workers in Universal Company (which workers had managed to establish merely two months ago) filed a complaint at the Labour Bureau on the 8th of May. Then, on the 11th of May, more than 150 workers went to the Labour Bureau of October to file individual complaints so that they receive their dues. At that time, more than twenty workers – including members of the Union - were surprised when they found out that the management of the Company filed a report against them accusing them of inciting workers to go on strike and demanding their referral to court as a preliminary step for firing them. The Company also filed a report against them, which carried the number of 2453 for 2022/administrative, at the second police station of the Sixth of October City on the 10th of May. On the 11th of May, the Company prevented them from entering the Company. Moreover, the management of Universal also fired around 65 workers the latest of whom were four workers fired on the 19th of May and they are:
1) Ahmed Mohamed Tawfiq Morsi
2) Abdel-Wahab Kamel Abdel-Sadeq
3) Mahmoud Awad Mostafa Ali Radwan
4) Ahmed Al-Iraqi Mohamed Al-Gioshi
Workers resorted to all legal means. They wrote complaints to the Labour Bureau of the Sixth of October City, the Ministry of Manpower and the House of Representative. They also filed police reports including administrative report no. 2565 for 2022 at the Second Police station of the Sixth of October City and administrative report no. 2627 for 2022 at the Second Police Station of the Sixth of October city.
The Ministry of Manpower set several appointments with the management of the Company and the Union in order to negotiate the situation and resolve the conflict. The latest of these appointments was today. However, neither the employer, Mr. Youssry Qotb (Chairman of the Board), or any representative of him attended the meeting.
The crisis of Universal’s workers is a clear example of the marriage of power and capital. It is well known that the Executive and Managing Director of Universal is Mr. Ahmed Youssry Qotb, Senate member and leader of the Homeland Future Party in Giza.
Although workers resorted to all legal means, they didn’t attain their rights. Instead of receiving their financial dues they are now threatened with dismissal and poverty. This reminds us of the notorious cases of the crises of the companies of Lord and BituNil. Workers are caught between a law that is biased to businessmen and businessmen who are above the law amid a crushing economic crisis that affect workers the most.
CTUWS calls upon all democratic forces to express their solidarity with the Workers of Universal Group and demands competent authorities to protect workers and help them regain their financial rights and be reinstated in their jobs. It also calls upon the Manpower Committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate to hold a meeting to discuss the problems of workers, and to confront businessmen’s disregard and disrespect of the Law primarily the crisis of the workers of Universal Group.