CAIRO: BBC journalists based in the broadcaster’s Cairo office on Monday began a three-day strike over pay and working conditions.
Staff in the Egyptian capital are also protesting over what they claim to be discriminatory behavior by London management in “deliberately pursuing against the Cairo office on financial policies.”
The latest industrial action in Egypt, running through to Wednesday, follows a one-day strike staged on June 14.
In a statement, the BBC's Cairo office workers said: “Our insistence on continuing our protest steps comes as a result of the London administration’s persistence in ignoring our demands.
“The discriminatory approach adopted by the BBC management in London against the Cairo office and its staff sends negative signals.
“Our salaries have lost nearly half of their value due to the depreciation of the Egyptian pound since March of 2022.
“Since then, we have repeatedly asked the management in London to adjust and reconsider our salaries, but our demands were either ignored or meager increases were offered.”
The statement pointed out that London management had “taken measures to resolve similar crises in its other offices in the region, in addition to the existence of discriminatory behavior with other offices in terms of salary disbursement rules.”
It added: “We decided to escalate until we got our full rights, as the management left us no other choice after we waited for months, hoping that we would reach a solution through settlement or negotiation.”
Nearly 80 journalists and staff working in Cairo took part in last month’s strike. In a statement issued at the time, journalists and correspondents complained of “discrimination in the payment of salaries in the local currency when the BBC’s offices in other parts of the world receive salaries in foreign currency.”
Khaled El-Balshy, head of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate, said the representative body had written to the BBC in London after the Cairo workers had requested its intervention in the dispute.
He noted that London management had been officially notified of the latest strike dates and added that the syndicate was in “solidarity with colleagues in all their steps to claim their rights.”
A BBC spokesman said: “We recognize that the economic situation in Egypt is having a significant impact on our staff, and we are increasing salaries by 27 percent between March and July this year to mitigate the levels of high inflation in the country.
“We are disappointed staff have taken strike action and continue to engage with them to find a resolution while acting within our market pay policy, which is applied consistently across the BBC, globally. BBC News Arabic continues to serve audiences with news and information.”
BBC News has offices in 58 cities in 44 countries. The spokesman said the BBC monitored inflation in those countries and benchmarked salaries accordingly.