Universal crises continue to unfold, Management sells factories... and workers

Press Releases
Wednesday, February 7, 2024 - 11:53

Universal crises continue to unfold

Management sells factories... and workers

Hardly does a month pass without renewed crises at Universal, the electrical appliances manufacturing company. Following successive crises and the owner's, Yosri Abdel Aal Qotb, evasion of fulfilling the financial rights and monthly salaries of the approximately three thousand workers, protests by the group's workers escalated. Despite most of the company's products being exported to many countries including Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Kuwait, Bahrain, and others, the management claims the company is faltering and facing financial difficulties.

Universal's crises have reemerged once again, this time through the sale of the group's companies and the desire to lay off workers without granting them any financial dues.

According to the workers, the company owner has sold the domestic heaters factory, where between 400 to 500 workers are employed, to the Italian company Ariston for an estimated amount of 2 billion pounds (62 million dollars). He asked the workers to resign from their positions to establish new contracts with the new owner (the Italian company). However, the factory workers rejected the offer and demanded the management to pay compensation equivalent to two months for each year of service according to the law so they can resign. However, the management, represented by the company's managing director, categorically refused and reiterated its demand for the workers to resign.

In response, the workers rejected the management's demand and went on strike since Sunday, February 4, insisting on their demands to receive an end-of-service bonus equivalent to two months for each year they worked at the company, as per the law.

Some workers pointed out that the group owner seeks to liquidate the company through sales. He has already sold the washing machine factory and the group of warehouses before selling the heaters factory, paving the way for selling all the company's assets and exiting the market, thereby absolving himself from the workers' rights, whether it's overdue payments or compensations for years of service.

Some workers affirmed that the average years of service for employees do not exceed ten years, while the average wages for workers are approximately 2500 pounds. This means that the compensation amounts for workers will not surpass the owner's capacity, considering he received around 2 billion pounds for the heaters factory!

In the past few years, the workers have been subjected to serious violations by the management regarding wage payments and incentives. The arrears owed to workers amounted to several months of total wages, as the employer used to pay monthly wages in five or six installments, not complying with the monthly payment, leading to accumulating arrears. In addition, there are 50 months of incentives and nearly forty months of job nature allowance. This has led to a worker's suicide and three others attempting suicide, but their colleagues managed to save them from death.

Workers wonder about the continuation of their crises without decisive intervention from the relevant authorities to stop the continuous violation of their rights by the employer and the group's management, especially in these bad economic conditions, consecutive price increases, and the unprecedented deterioration of living conditions for workers and their families, in addition to the employer's practices that do not respect agreements, laws, or adhere to the most basic workers' rights.

The Center of Trade Unions and Workers Services declares its full solidarity with the legitimate demands of Universal Company workers. It calls on the Ministry of Labor to intervene to enforce the collective labor agreement signed by the company owner with the workers and to work on implementing the law and stopping the series of violations against their rights, which have multiplied without restraint or deterrent. It also calls on all active forces in society to stand in solidarity with Universal workers as they face these violations.

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