Don’t treat it as breaking news if you woke up one morning to the bad news that Britania Allied Industries (U) Ltd, known by its house hold item, Splash is no more.
This is because its top Libyan Directors, who are the biggest shareholders in the company, are not only flouting the Country’s policies that guide foreigners working in Uganda, but are also reportedly flouting labour laws of this banana republic.
According to Uganda’s laws, a foreigner who wishes to work in Uganda must first seek a working permit from immigration before they can be allowed to work.
However, Britania’s newly appointed managing Director Ahmed Elmajee and his mate, the Group’s General Manager Ali Yousef Ebraik Ohaida, our sources at the immigration office confirmed they have no working permits recorded in their names at the ministry that clears them to be involved in any gainful employment in Uganda.
“If those guys are here working, then they’re doing so on their own terms, I guess, not on the Country’s terms, but let’s first engage their Embassy (Libyan Embassy) to get full information about them,” a staff at the immigration department on condition of anonymity told this reporter on Wednesday.
Our sources at the ministry have also availed us with the application form of a one, Yousef Ebraik Ohaida applying for a work permit, having paid USD1,500 on March 23 2020, but the process has never been completed, due to CODIV-19 lockdown, although the guy is already working and minting millions every day as Group’s General manager.
Now, forget about Yousef who atleast tried to apply and was frustrated by the lockdown, his counterpart, Elmajee, working as new company’s MD has never even attempted to the initial processes of applying for the same, although, according to our sources, he is also already earning in millions per day against the existing laws of this land locked country.
“We received a notification of Ebraik’s application and payment via online application, but this file is still at the commissioner’s desk, so how do you apply for a driving permit but start driving immediately even before you get the same? What’s the essence of the clearance you’re seeking for then?” a tough talking staff wondered via phone interview.
Workers Decry Of Pathetic Working Conditions
As if that’s not enough, workers at the Ntinda, Indutrial area based fresh fruit-juice pioneers in Uganda are protesting against their new bosses, accusing them of several ‘unprofessional work ethics’ like rudeness, forced labor, sending workers on unpaid forced leave without any paper work, failure to pay them their salaries, cutting their other benefits like airtime, fuel, over time allowances, fieldwork facilitation among others, without any explanation.
Some of the employees also complain of ‘shuffling’ them with other roles completely different from their initial area of expertise and terms of their contracts.
One classic example is when he forced an IT manager known as Kavuma Ivan, employed to handle network and software related issues to now become a marketeer of sorts, whereby he would be required to go to the field, take photos with his ‘kabbiriti’ phone and start running the social media accounts of the company.
When he told him that it was not his area of expertise, he harassed him until the guy tendered in his resignation and went away, source confided.
“This guy was so professional in his area of expertise, and that’s what his contract entailed, he told him he didn’t study marketing, he was honest, and that’s what the company hired him for, but he coiled on the guy until he left. As I talk right now, a whole marketing manager, ably identified by our source as Norah Male Nambooze, who was hired from Coca Cola, brought on board strategically to think for the company on new marketing strategies at that high level, has now been reduced to a level of sitting whole day on the lap top to run the social media pages of the company, just imagine that, isn’t that putting her great potential to waste?” our source queried. By her status she is the one supposed to be supervising a junior staff to run them instead.
In the old regime, Britania’s social media handles were sub-contracted to a private professional Indian Company whose role was to manufacture and manage the company’s social media content. Elmajee immediately cancelled the contract when he stepped in, and now wants any staff of the company to run it, irrespective of their expertise.
We have since also learnt that nowadays, workers getting their salaries every end of month is like milking a bull, it’s a full hardy. “Every end of month since he came in, getting our salaries is as hard as someone sending you to Nairobi on foot, the guy is simply something else we’re yet to understand, otherwise why should I beg for my money I worked for?” a source said.
Although the staff was used to old management where their salary advances were on their accounts by 16th of every month, as we talk now, workers have not yet got their June salary advances, and are not sure they will get it sooner or even their full salary at the end of the month. This has created a dark cloud between the staff and their new bosses.
We’ve also established that Over 100 staff workers who were sent on unpaid and forced leave for a ‘short time’ are also complaining that they’ve since refused to call them back to work, and yet no salaries have been extended to their accounts, they’re not sure if they are still employed or not, and yet their utility bills at homes are only surging. “They said we go home for one week, a week has become weeks, now we hear he said we shouldn’t come until he calls us, the question is, when? It’s indefinite,” one of the workers was heard complaining outside the company gate on Thursday morning when security denied them entry into the factory.
In a bid to cut costs in this COVID19 pandemic, the entire foods production section of the company, which produces Splash, Top-Up sauces, Sun-Sip, Splash Kachupa among others was closed down and keys literally thrown into crocodile’s jaws, leaving over 100 workers grassing, with no idea on when they would resume work.
Britania’s proprietor Dr. Husmukh Dawda sold over 65% shares of his company in Uganda and House of Manji Kenya to late Libyan leader Col.Muamar Gaddafi’s FI Holdings which also run World Islamic Call Society, years before his demise in 2011.
After his fall, a cold war between his former blue eyed boys and those who ousted him has always persisted in most companies IF Holdings and Libyan Gov’t have shares. Managements in most companies keep on changing like baby’s nappies, depending on who has more weight over the other back in Libya,at a particular moment.
In Britania alone, since Gadaffi’s demise, they’ve had over three transitions in leadership. Sometimes, tempers reach boiling points of nearly flexing muscles in the boardroom to the full glare of the staff, many times over failure to agree on monitory sharing. The same is rumored in Tropical bank, UTL to mention but a few, where Libyans have shares.
Workers at Britania who have endured all the three regimes under Mr. Saleh Farag, Mohammed Elzhorgani and now Elmajee Ahmed, say the current regime Elmajee is the most pathetic, to say the least.
Watch the space for more details……