Journalists at Egyptian daily Al-Shorouk launch strike over delayed salaries

Omar Halawa, Friday 20 Nov 2015

Al-Shorouk logo (Photo: Paper's website)

Egyptian privately owned newspaper Al-Shorouk did not release its first edition on Friday and instead released only a truncated version of its second Friday edition, after the majority of its staff began a strike over delayed salaries, a source within the paper told Ahram Online.

The paper, which normally publishes an early edition of its Friday run on Thursday night, instead published only the second edition on Friday. The issue featured only 12 pages instead of the usual 16, and articles were published mostly from news agencies and without journalists' bylines. The paper did not include the usual editorial header which gives the name of the editorial staff.

At a meeting of the paper's internal general assembly on Wednesday, journalists decided to start a strike due to a delay in payments of salaries.

“The owners of the paper need to give us their final say over two main things: When are we expected to receive the remaining amount of October's salaries? And also when are we expected to receive the oustanding amount of past months salaries? " a striking Al-Shorouk journalist told Ahram Online, requesting anonymity.

According to the journalist, for almost two years all employees of the paper have been receiving their monthly salaries in instalments, with the situation worsening in April of this year when some instalments were not paid.

"The administration used to tell us that we are facing financial hurdles as Promo Media advertising agency, which places ads in the paper, is not paying them revenues on fixed terms, so we cannot pay your salaries on fixed terms as well. For instance we have only received LE750 of our October salaries so far," the source said.

“The general assembly met on Wednesday and decided to write a memo and send it to the owners to see what they have in mind to end this ongoing crisis," they added.

Earlier this year some news outlets reported that Al-Shorouk, which was founded in 2008 by prominent book publisher Ibrahim El-Malaam, had sacked some journalists due to a financial crisis.

However, the source believes that "the whole crisis could be handled by the owners, especially as they are businessmen who can sort it out through pumping funds [into the paper] until they resolve the issue with Promo Media."

"Yesterday three section editors were able to gather some news items and run it in today's second copy but I'm not sure what will be the work flow situation within the coming days if we don't get a prompt response to our demands," the source added.

Al-Shorouk management were not available for an immediate response.

Many Egyptian media outlets are facing similar financial problems, reportedly due to issues with advertising revenues. Al-Tahrir, formerly a daily newspaper, fired many staff in August, and stopped publishing a print issue to move to online news only, in order to reduce financial losses.

Al-Masry Al-Youm, a leading independent daily, announced in July that it had terminated its contract with Promo Media, accusing the latter of delays in payments of advertising revenue.

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