Strike at BBC Cairo Office
Today, on the 21st of August, a strike is taking place at the BBC Cairo office. It is reported that:
“Egyptian journalists, who work for the BBC Cairo bureau, are starting a strike today over pay. Amid soaring inflation and devaluation of the Egyptian currency, the strikers are demanding either to get paid in US dollars like their foreign counterparts or significantly increasing their pay in local currency. The industrial action will last for ten days, and is backed by the Press Syndicate head Khaled el-Balshy.”
In mid-July, employees at BBC Cairo had already gone on strike over low wages and what they described as systematic discrimination by the BBC. The BBC Cairo team has repeatedly urged BBC management to adjust salaries to reflect rising inflation. However, the demands were repeatedly ignored.
Since March 2022, the salaries of Egyptian BBC staff have lost nearly half their value due to the devaluation of the Egyptian pound.
The economic situation in Egypt is deteriorating on a daily basis. The Egyptian pound is among the worst-performing currencies in 2023. In 2022, the Egyptian currency lost half of its value.The inflation rate reached 31.9% in February and hit an all-time high of 36.50% in July 2023.
The worsening economic situation plagues the everyday life of the majority of Egyptians, who are struggling with the consequences of abject poverty. However, the possibility of taking to the streets against these circumstances is nipped in the bud by the military dictatorship of Abdel Fattah el Sisi. The Sisi regime recently pardoned some imprisoned activists: such as the oppositionist Ahmed Douma, who has been imprisoned for over ten years, a few days ago, or the activists Patrick Zaki and Mohammed al-Bakr a few weeks earlier. However, over 60,000 political prisoners remain locked up in Egyptian prisons. The Egyptian state continues to silence dissent as the country’s dire economic and authoritarian political situation intensifies.