A strike by a group of journalists from independent Al-Dostour newspaper has entered its third day, as the journalists welcomed social security inspectors to the newspaper headquarters.
The strike has continued since Saturday after a group of journalists went to pick up their monthly salaries only to discover unannounced cuts to their pay.
Social security inspectors arrived after receiving a complaint from the journalists against the newspaper’s Chairman Reda Edward. The journalists are accusing Edward of refusing to provide them with insurance and employment contracts. They added that Edward resorts to arbitrary suspensions when dealing with some journalists without providing any reasons for the suspension.
In a statement released on Monday, the striking journalists claimed that newspaper’s security refused to allow the inspectors to enter the building in order to examine the journalists’ attendance records. The journalists added that when newspaper administrators found out about the inspectors’ visit, they allowed them in.
“[The inspectors] were addressed by former news editor Hassan Badie who exercised trickery and beguilement,” the statement read, adding that Badie told the inspectors that the strike was a “malicious conspiracy” woven by the Muslim Brotherhood against the newspaper.
According to the journalists’ statement, Badie had stated that the striking journalists are all interns who have spent less than two months in the newspaper and that the newspaper does not owe them salaries. In the statement, the journalists said that some of them have been working in the newspaper for five years without a contract.
The journalists are demanding a minimum wage of EGP 1,200 and contracts for all un-contracted journalists. They are also demanding that managers stop meddling with the newspaper’s editorial policy, which was changed in October 2010 after Ibrahim Eissa was fired from his position as the newspaper’s editor in chief.
Iman Ibrahim, an Al-Dostour journalist who refused to take part in the strike, said she asked the striking journalists to postpone taking action. “I told them we should pursue legitimate channels of protest first,” Ibrahim said. She suggested the journalists first request a meeting with Edward to present their demands before resorting to a strike. The journalists refused to consider her suggestion.
“Most striking journalists are not productive,” Ibrahim said. She added that their salaries were cut to fit their productivity level.
The striking journalists were scheduled to meet with Edward Monday evening, but the meeting was postponed until Tuesday after Edward failed to show up, citing his brother’s illness as the reason.
“We shall not acquiesce to the conspiracies taking place to resolve the strike,” the journalists said in their statement.