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Turkey: Staff at BBC Istanbul bureau go on strike after breakdown in talks

Members of staff at BBC's Istanbul bureau have complained of double standards in wage policy for locals
AFP photographer Bulent Kilic (C) addresses the media, as protesters hold signs reading 'we can't breathe', during a demonstration in front of the Governor's Mansion in Istanbul, on 29 June 2021 (AFP)

Staff at the BBC's bureau in Istanbul are set to take strike action on Tuesday after negotiations broke down with the management.

In an announcement on Twitter, BBC News producer Zeynip Erdim said that the "period for collective bargaining between the Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Istanbul bureau has ended in disagreement."

She said the strike would begin at 11am local time (8am GMT) on Tuesday.

Turkish staff at the AFP news agency threatened to take similar action in September, but reached a compromise with management, averting a strike.

According to the TGS, journalists will gather outside the BBC's offices in Istanbul in a show of solidarity with the striking staff.

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Turkey is reeling from a mounting economic crisis that has seen spiralling inflation and a tanking lira hit workers' wages.

Journalist Erol Onderoglu said the strike action proved that foreign media outlets could not take workers in Turkey for granted.

Members of staff at the BBC's Istanbul bureau had complained of double standards in the wage policy for local staff.

"Now, western media groups must accept the well-deserved standards and gains of media workers working in Turkey," Onderoglu wrote on Twitter.

"The collective bargaining process between TGS and BBC Istanbul bureau resulted in disagreement. Of course, I'm on the side of the BBC staff."

The Turkish government has been heavily criticised for a year-long crackdown on critical journalists in the country.

RSF placed Turkey 153rd out of 180 nations on its Press Freedom Index for 2021.

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