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Journalists at Egyptian newspaper Al-Shorouk strike over late wages, firings

Journalists and other employees launched a partial strike and are threatening to institute a full strike by the end of the week if their demands are not met

Mariam Rizk , Monday 18 May 2015
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Staff at the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Shorouk went on partial strike on Monday in objection to delayed wages and the firing of a dozen employees, two strikers told Ahram Online.

Some 350 journalists and administration workers began the two-hour strike at 1pm, vowing to continue with partial strikes until Thursday. If their demands remained unmet by then, the group said they would launch a full strike.

Explaining their grievances, the head of the negotiating committee, Mahmoud El-Arabi, said that some staff members have had their salaries delayed by several weeks.

In addition at least 10 employees were dismissed recently, with unsatisfactory financial compensation, strikers said. The group included journalists working on both the newspaper and its website, and all had been employed for at least two years.

Another four journalists were suspended but then re-hired after the Journalists Syndicate brokered talks with the administration.

No work tasks were delegated to the returning group, however, according to one of the sacked journalists who spoke to Ahram Online on condition of anonymity.

El-Arabi said the strikers are reaching out to well-known writer Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, who also owns 30 percent of shares in the newspaper, in the hope that he will intervene to solve the standoff.

"I will stick to the place where I worked for more than five years and whatever illegal procedures taken against me I'll go back to the syndicate then to courts," he told Ahram Online.

Members of Al-Shorouk's board were not available for comment.

Egyptian journalists have long struggled with insecure employment conditions and low salaries. The absence of permanent contracts, which provide significant legal protection against spontaneous dismissal, has been a persistent bugbear.

Journalists working without formal contracts are also considered to be more vulnerable to arrest and legal prosecution in the course of their work.

In addition, membership of the Journalists Syndicate requires a permanent contract with a news publication.

According to recent estimates announced by the syndicate board, 250 Egyptian journalists have recently been dismissed from their jobs.

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