The NUJ has condemned the trend of Nigerian journalists facing months of unpaid work.
The Nigerian Union of Journalist, NUJ, on Tuesday gave owners of media organisations in the country a two-week ultimatum to settle all outstanding salaries and allowances owed their employees or risk industrial actions.
President of the union, Mohammed Garba, issued the ultimatum while addressing aviation correspondents at the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN secretariat in Lagos.
Mr. Garba, who was accompanied by the Lagos State Chairman, Deji Elumoye, and some national and state executive members of the NUJ, decried a situation where “media owners owe journalists several months of unpaid salaries.”
It is an open secret that only very few media houses pay their workers their entitlements on a regular basis. Most of the organizations do not have functional condition of service. Workers in those media houses who have left the service of their former employers find it difficult getting their disengagement benefits.
“We (NUJ leadership) are worried that major newspaper owners making several millions of Naira as profit owe their employees several months of unpaid salaries,” Mr. Garba said. “How do we talk of sanitising the industry and the profession when some media organisations are aiding corruption by that singular act?”
According to the president, the NUJ has also alerted members of the Radio and Television Workers Union, RATTAWU and the National Union of Printing and Publishing Workers, NUPPROW, about the proposed picketing should any of the debtor media organisations fail to act after the expiration of the two-week ultimatum.
“We have also informed the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC of this decision,’’ he said.
Mr. Garba also used the occasion to announce that he and Fatima Abdulkareem have been elected President and Vice Chairman respectively of the Gender Council of the Federation of African Journalists, FAJ for the next three years.
He said his election, during the last congress of the group, has placed on him, the NUJ and Nigerian journalists an enormous responsibility of lifting the profession to greater heights and maintaining the unity of African leaders.
The selection is also to fight against such challenges as insecurity and unethical conduct in the journalism profession,” he said.
The president also decried the pilferage of the nine-member NUJ delegates’ luggage between Lagos and Casablanca, Morocco.
The National President also reported that a two-week ultimatum has been issued to the management of Royal Air Maroc for the return of his luggage and that of the National Secretary of the union, Leman Shuaib, that got missing during their trip from Lagos to Casablanca recently.
He said till date no positive response has been received from the airline’s management over the missing luggage, adding that a similar formal complaint would be lodged with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to help recover the missing luggage, one of which had N150, 000 in it.
“We returned to Nigeria on Monday April 1, from Casablanca, Morocco, and we have not been able to recover the luggage until now. We would ask our lawyers to take up the matter if after two weeks we don’t get any response from the airlines management,’’ Mr. Garba warned.
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