Egyptian Reuters staff to hold one-day strike in protest against 'unfair' pay scale

Egyptian Reuters staff to hold one-day strike in protest against 'unfair' pay scale
The staffers of Reuters Egypt’s stance came as the profession had been undergoing challenges and hardships in Egypt, a country infamously ranked as the world’s third worst jailer of journalists.
2 min read
Egypt - Cairo
08 November, 2023
Several local journalists held a one-hour protest at the Reuters Cairo bureau to protest against the news agency's 'unfair salary structure.' [Facebok]

Over the weekend, Egyptian staff of Thomson Reuters Foundation declared they plan to hold a strike on 23 November to protest against the company's "unfair" payment scale amid an economic crisis that has battered the North African country.

The move by journalists in the Egyptian bureau of the prominent news agency came almost two months after their BBC Cairo colleagues won a similar battle for equal pay with other BBC staffers in the region.

Both British media organisations, Reuters and the BBC, are known to have been paying their staff in Egypt in the local currency during the devaluation of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar.

On Saturday, 4 November, several Reuters journalists in Egypt held a one-hour protest at the Cairo bureau to object to what they believed as "an unfair salary structure that has continuously failed to address the economic turmoil gripping the country since March 2022", they said in a statement.

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Last October, the Central Bank of Egypt imposed exchange rate flexibility, allowing the value of the Egyptian pound to be regulated by market forces. The change aimed to save Egypt's already ailing economy after securing a US$3 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The US dollar is currently valued at 30.95 in banks and currency exchange offices, but it is worth about 48 EGP in the parallel, informal market.

Head of Journalists' Syndicate Khaled El-Balshy and several of the union's board members joined the protesters to support their cause.  

The salary scale of the local Reuters staff members, according to the statement, "does not provide them any protection against economic fluctuations, and is not in line with payment structures applied in other regional offices.

Several rounds of negotiations had preceded the journalists' escalation in recent months but have not paid off so far.

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The Reuters journalists, meanwhile, declined to comment for being unauthorised to talk to the media, delegating Balshy to be their official spokesman and negotiator. The New Arab could not reach him for comment at the publication time.

The staffers of Reuters Egypt's stance coincided with hardships the profession had been undergoing in Egypt, a country infamously ranked as the world's third worst jailer of journalists.

Over 500 local and international websites of human rights groups and news outlets, including Human Rights Watch and Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, the Arabic language sister publication to TNA, have been banned in the country over the past decade.