BBC staff in Cairo ended their three-day strike for equal pay with colleagues in the Middle East on Wednesday but threatened future collective action if their demands are not met.
During a news conference outside the BBC’s offices in Cairo, Khaled al-Balashi, a spokesman for the strikers and head of Egypt’s press union, reiterated the workers’ demand that salaries be paid in US dollars or that salaries be significantly increased in local currency.
The three-day strike began on Monday and involved 75 staff members from the BBC’s Cairo office who said they wanted the same pay conditions as other BBC employees in the region, including Beirut and Istanbul.
Al-Balshi said the disparity “is tantamount to purging discrimination.” As he spoke, dozens of Cairo staff members stood behind him and held up posters emblazoned with the words “double standards”.
“It (contradiction) manifests itself in different forms, either in the payment of salaries here and in Beirut, or how a similar crisis is dealt with in Turkey,” the union leader said.
A reporter for striking BBC staff in Egypt has accused the UK media giant of ‘severe discrimination’
Egypt is in the grip of growing economic crises with rising inflation and devaluation of the currency. Over the past 12 months, the Egyptian pound has lost more than 50 percent of its value against the dollar, with annual inflation reaching 36.8 percent in June, up from 33.7 percent recorded in May.
In a statement, the BBC’s headquarters in London said it had planned “a 27 percent increase in pay between March and July” to reduce inflation and was continuing discussions with staff in Cairo) “to find a solution while working within our market pay policy, which is applied consistently.”
Al-Balshi said that a 27 percent increase in salaries is insufficient given Egypt’s economic situation. Staff at the BBC’s Beirut office are paid in dollars, he said, while the broadcaster’s employees in Turkey won a big pay rise after a strike in 2022.
Both Turkey and Lebanon have suffered economic downturns in recent years.
Egypt’s economy is reeling from years of government austerity measures, the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine. The North African country is the largest importer of wheat from Russia and Ukraine.
Click here to get the Fox News app.
“We are facing (further) legal tension. We will contact the various parties and raise our voices,” Al-Balshi said. He did not specify which parties or future escalation would amount to another strike.