Respect welfare of journalists: ZUJ

The newly elected executive of the Zimbabwe Union of journalist (ZUJ) said lack of the National Employment Council (NEC) for the Media Industry has played a role in impoverishing journalists as well as expose them to abuse by their employers and powerful people.

By Staff Reporter

ZUJ officer responsible for Training and Welfare of journalists, Zororai Nkomo said journalists  in Zimbabwe are subjected to a harsh and abusive working environment punctuated by poor salaries and harassment.

Journalism is a sacred profession, but for many decades our member’s dignity and decorum have been incessantly impaired by poor remuneration which is tantamount to harassment. This is due to the fact that we don’t have our own National Employment Council to protect and insulate members of the proverbial fourth estate from capitalism and poverty.” said Nkomo

Nkomo said they want to petition the parliament of Zimbabwe so that the newly proposed Media Practitioners Bill will incorporate the creation of a NEC for Media Industry to deal with welfare and condition of service for journalists in the country.

“We are happy with media legal developments in this country especially the efforts to promulgate the Media Practitioners Act which is currently in form of a Bill. Our wish and hope is for the legislature to incorporate the creation of the National Employment Council for the media industry. We want NEC to be a creature of statute which will create a legal obligation for media employers to pay their journalists a prescribed minimum and reasonable salary which is not the case at the moment,” Nkomo said.

Nkomo said journalists are subject to unfair labour practices and unreasonable capitalism.

“It’s very disheartening that our sector is associated with very unfair labour practices associated with capitalism unfair dismissals and slave wages. Lack of the National Employment Council for the Media industry will not only address unfair labour practices facing journalist in Zimbabwe, but it will create good platform for dispute resolution in the media sector , which subsequently avoid expensive and tedious litigation processes when employment dispute arise”, said Nkomo

Nkomo further said that poor conditions of service for journalists have negatively impacted investigative reporting in the country.

“For a fact our country is endowed with journalists who are very good in executing their constitutional mandate on information gathering and dissemination, but poor remuneration has negatively affected the spirit of investigating reporting. How possible is it that a person can investigate a US$10 000 scandal while he or she is being awarded a salary of less than US$200. It is not possible. In fact it’s a very difficult task which can subsequently negatively impair professionalism.”

Speaking during the just ended ZUJ’s elective congress held on the 5th of August 2022, renowned labour lawyer Advocate Rodgers Matsikidze said the major setback for the creation of the National Employment Council for Media Industry in Zimbabwe is fear by employers that it can create problems.

“The problem is that the sector’s employers have not been coming to the tables to sign the constitution, but I think it’s now time for them to sign” said Advocate Matsikidze.

The purpose of National Employment Council (NEC) is to prevent and settle labour disputes among employees and employers, it is a creature of statute which is also meant to represent interests of employers and employees in an organisation.

The newly appointed ZUJ executive is being headed by George Maponga as the president and Perfect Hlongwane as the secretary general.

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