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NLC President calls for better pay, insurance, pensions for Nigerian journalists

While journalists played significant roles in the fight for independence, it's unfortunate that same people are begging for their salaries to be paid.

Joe Ajaero, the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and the union's delegation. [Daily Trust]

Ajaero made the call when he visited the President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Dr Chris Isiguzo in Abuja.

He explained that while journalists played significant roles in the fight for independence and the current democracy Nigerians are enjoying, it is unfortunate same people are begging for their salaries to be paid.

The labour leader said that journalism is getting worse by the day, though technology has enhanced the practice.

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“The welfare of journalists is being underplayed. While journalists are a group of professionals fighting for everyone, nobody is for them, they are not even for themselves.

“Journalists do not have weekends, public holidays or festive season.

"They work and report the activities of people who are enjoying weekends, public holidays and festivities.

“Even when a journalist is sacked or not paid for one year, other journalists will not write a story on such injustice,” Ajaero said.

He added: “I am advocating for a consultative machinery that we should hold every two years, to have a negotiation with all media employers in the county to fix minimum wage for journalists.

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“Also, there should be pension that all journalists should enjoy after retiring from the job. Insurance cover is another thing that Journalists should enjoy to make them work better.”

The labour leader stressed that non-payment of journalists’ salaries should not be encouraged and should be treated as a criminal offence.

Ajaero acknowledged that, though it has not been easy for publishers, he said that should not warrant them not to do the needful for their employees, particularly payment of their salaries.

“Most reporters spend their little salaries on transportation to do their job. This is unacceptable.

“We are in the era of social and online media. There is also the need to regulate the online media practice.

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“It should be regulated in such a way that they will be part of NUJ. You need to accommodate them and know what they are doing,” Ajaero added.

On his part, Isiguzo said NUJ is doing a lot to address abnormalities in the practice of journalism in the country.

“We are currently looking at the Code of Ethics to come out with a review that will also stipulate the responsibilities and obligations of employers to media workers.

“Again, our check off dues don’t come to the NUJ. Where it goes to, we don’t know. That is one key issue that needs to be addressed,” Isiguzo stated.

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