Egypt Watch

Maspero media workers protest financial grievances

Hundreds of employees of the National Media Authority demonstrated in the main building of the Radio and Television Union, Maspero, again, in protest of the authority’s statement, which they considered a way to circumvent their financial dues. The employees demanded the inclusion of bonuses, the approval of promotions, the payment of all dues, and a response to all the demands that led to the protests. They also raised pictures of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and demanded that he dismiss the head of the authority, Hussein Zein. According to demonstrators, Maspero’s security stopped some employees and photographed their ID cards. Head of the Economic Sector Workers Committee in Maspero, Khaled Al-Sobky, said that he was summoned by the Legal Affairs Department to interrogate him on charges of causing confusion and committing financial violations during work.

The National Media Authority’s statement said that the financial departments had taken the necessary measures to pay the bonuses for the years 2017 and 2018 and other financial dues. One of the Maspero employees said that the authority only approved the basic bonus, which ranges between EGP 400 and EGP 1,000, while it did not approve the rest of the bonuses and promotions. The commission also did not include the basic bonus to the basic wage, which is already low, according to her.

The protests began two weeks ago, as thousands of employees demonstrated against their poor working conditions and low wages, the suspension of bonuses and promotions for years, and the suspension of health insurance services. They also demanded that they receive their financial dues, which have been in arrears since 2017, and the departure of the head of the National Media Authority.

Last week, the authority announced the cabinet’s approval of disbursing EGP 60 million to pay employees’ dues, which are far less than the total arrears of about EGP two billion. Zain stated that the authority is in financial difficulty because its allocations have not changed since 2011, and are fixed at the level of EGP 220 million, while the minimum expenses are EGP 260 million. He added that the authority needs a EGP 120 million increase in its allowances.