Labour strike paralyses Egypt's state-run Rose Al-Yousef media house

Ahram Online , Tuesday 18 Jun 2013

Striking workers, protesting late salaries, stop latest edition of weekly magazine Sabah El-Kheir from going to print for first time since publication's 1925 launch

A labour strike at Egypt's state-owned Rose Al-Yousef media institution has stopped the latest edition of weekly magazine Sabah El-Kheir ('Good Morning') from going to print for the first time since the publication's launch in 1925.

The institution's roughly 1300 workers (not including white-collar employees) have been on strike for three consecutive days to protest late salaries and bonuses.

Workers have not received their weekly bonuses for four weeks, nor have they received their LE250 bonuses for last month, striking worker Mohamed Mostafa told Ahram Online.

An annual bonus of LE950, due last March, has also not been paid, said Mostafa.

Rose Al-Yousef Editor-in-Chief Gamal Tayaa, for his part, concedes that striking workers' financial demands "are legitimate." He adds, however, that "we have no money to pay them."

"It's a state-owned institution, the financial difficulties of which are out of our hands," Tayaa told Ahram Online. "The state must improve our financial circumstances."

He added: "We've communicated with striking workers and expect them to call off their strike within two days."

Workers, meanwhile, have blocked Cairo's central Qasr Al-Aini Street since Sunday. On Monday, they also closed down Rose Al-Yousef’s print house, preventing the publication of this week's edition of Sabah El-Kheir.

On Tuesday, striking workers blocked the entrances to Rose Al-Yousef's offices and barred employees from entering.

According to Mostafa, Abdel-Sadeq El-Shorbagy, chairman of Rose Al-Yousef's board of directors, submitted his resignations after telling striking workers that the institution did not have the money to pay them. The Shura Council (the upper house of Egypt's parliament, temporarily endowed with legislative powers) rejected his resignation, however.

Since 2011, the Rose Al-Yousef institution has faced serious financial problems. 

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