The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, on Friday called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to enhance the salaries of journalists and other media workers in the country.
Deji Elumoye, Chairman of the Lagos Council of the union, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
He said that the present pay of workers in most media organisations was nothing to write home about, adding that the remuneration was not commensurate with the kind of services rendered by the journalists, who worked even at odd hours.
“Journalists are very important people in the society, given the kind of services they render, the long hours they have to put into their work and the hazards they face.
“Ironically, there is room for improvement in the kind of pay media workers earn today and we are saying it is time the government fast-tracks the implementation of the special media salary scale proposed by the NUJ.
“Journalists, just like teachers, lecturers and doctors are not like other civil servants, so media workers should have a special salary structure like lecturers and others who render specialised services.
“The government should put its change mantra to work in this area by ensuring that the journalists are adequately rewarded, in line with their enormous contributions to national development,’’ he said.
The chairman said the union was able to push the special Media Salary Structure to the level of the Salaries and Wages Commission during the last administration, shortly before the general elections.
He said the union expected the new government to revive the issue and act fast on it.
The NUJ chairman said the union had engaged the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on the issue and urged the government not to treat the matter with levity.
On the issue of casualisation of media workers in privately-owned media establishments, Mr. Elumoye said that the practice was against the labour laws.
He urged private media organisations to employ only when they could afford to pay, warning that the NUJ would not hesitate to take serious actions against organisations engaged in the practice.