After the suicide of a worker police attack Universal Appliances labour protest and arrest 4

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On Wednesday, two employees working for Universal Appliances told Egypt Watch that they were forced to end their strike after the administration passed on direct threats from the authorities. Although the workers stopped after receiving the threats, four were arrested after they departed the company. They are Ahmed Said, Mohamed Abdel Latif, Ragab Saber and Omar.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Central Security Forces, Egypt’s riot police, dispersed thousands of Universal Appliances workers using tear gas, after the workers struck off one of the company’s units in the Sixth of October City’s industrial zone, protesting the deterioration of their living conditions that led their colleague, Asem Afifi, to commit suicide. The workers were kettled behind the company’s walls, where they continued their strike.

According to the workers’ trade union, the police officer demanded the workers end their strike saying that the company’s owner, Yousri Kotb, has no money. One of the trade union members said that Afifi commited suicide when he threw himself in front of a car on the Regional Highway, while he was waiting for the company bus with his colleagues. Beforehand, Afifi sent messages to his colleagues demanding them to forgive him because he had failed to pay off their debts. Another member, who talked on condition of anonymity, said that three other workers had committed suicide for similar reasons since 2019.

The strike that started on Tuesday was preceded with a series of strikes due to the irregular disbursement of the workers’ wages. The last strike was in January and ended with a deal with the head of the metal and engineering industries’ workers syndicate, Khaled Al-Feky. The deal provided scheduled disbursement of the workers arrears over two months, then the regular disbursement of wages starting from March. However, the workers reported that the deal was broken, and they have not received any money.