CAIRO: About 150 journalists protested inside the headquarters of the privately-owned Al-Tahrir newspaper over delayed salaries demanding equal pay between them and their colleagues working for the newspaper’s online website. Seddiq Al-Esawi, one of the protestors told the Cairo Post Thursday.
He added that about month ago, the newspaper’s administration decided to split the online website form the printed edition of the same newspaper for undeclared reasons; “Wednesday night we announced that we will start a sit-in, as we didn’t take our salaries since two months, Nov. and Dec., meanwhile, our colleagues in the online website took all of their financial dues.”
Esawi explained that they notified the journalist syndicate about their sit-in, “taking all the legal and peaceful movements as much as we can”, later, two members from the syndicate council came to the newspaper and talked with the protestors.
According to Esawi, Khaled Al-Balshy and Hesham Younis, the two syndicate members who desperately tried to communicate with the chairman of the Board, but in vain, have called on the syndicate head, Diaa Rashwan to give the newspaper’s administration a time limit until Thursday noon, “if they didn’t give us our rights, we will escalate the procedures by heading to the police station to notify them with our sit, and to make an official statement.”
The demands of the protested journalists according to Esawi are: payment of all the delayed salaries; clarifying the administration’s attitude towards the printed edition of the newspaper, putting an end to the discrimination between the online and printed journalists and to set a timeline every month for the salaries.
They also refuse all the attempts to reduce the original salaries and demand the inclusion of legal bonuses and to sign contracts with the journalists granting them proper health insurance system.
“We are convinced That Engy Al-Hadad, the Managing Director, and the one who decided to split the newspaper into two halves, is the one behind this current problem, as we were notified that the chairman of the Board Akmal Qertam, agreed to pay the delayed salaries, but she is the one entitled to sign the cheques and obviously, she didn’t agree.” Esawi said.
In statements reported By Al-Shrouq Wednesday, Al-Hadad said that she is currently outside the country, and that she doesn’t know anything about the journalists’ decision to protest inside the newspaper headquarters.
Esawi explained that they are waiting for their demands to be approved and applied within hours, “the syndicate announced its solidarity with us, and we will escalate the sit-in if nothing happened.”
Al- Tahrir is a daily independent newspaper established in 2011, shortly after the January 25 revolution. Its first owner was Ibrahim El Moallem, an Egyptian businessman