Union accuses Zimpapers of failing to address workers’ concerns

The Zimbabwe Graphical Workers Union has accused Zimpapers management of failing to address its workers’ concerns resulting in them declaring incapacitation owing to low salaries.  

Journalists at Zimpapers in Bulawayo downed tools two days ago demanding a review of their salaries.  

Zimpapers is one of the biggest media companies in the country and the Bulawayo stable houses The Chronicle, Sunday News, B-Metro and Umthunywa publications.

The union’s organising secretary, Clarence Mugari, wrote to Zimpapers management head office on May 26, 2023, saying they were deeply concerned to find that their colleagues were struggling to make ends meet.

“Our members at Zimpapers advised you that they are now incapacitated to continue reporting for duty should you fail to immediately address their concerns, which we have analysed and come to a conclusion that they are bonafide,” he said in a letter that has since been delivered. 

Mugari stated it was disturbing that such a key organisation in Zimbabwe is operating under such unfavourable conditions yet its workers are expected to continue delivering quality news.

“We are shocked to note that the employer has failed to provide very basic tools of the trade yet demanding a quality service and also that the employer has failed to employ adequate personnel when our country has thousands and thousands of graduated unemployed youth,” said the workers’ national organiser.

He added they were aware that Zimpapers staff play a critical role in the journalism sector as they are mandated to inform the country of current affairs, especially key projects carried out by the government.

Mugari noted that the current minimum salary equivalent to US$90 was “surely not enough to take employees from day one to day five of the month” yet the workers are expected to spend the whole month with such an amount.

“We view this as a clear dereliction of duty by those in positions of influence at Zimpapers, they ought to have seen that should they fail to act promptly workers will be incapacitated and production will suffer and as a result, the nation at large will be starved of the most needed news,” said trade unionist.

According to the trade unionist, the Zimpapers workers have stated they are open to trying to find an internal solution with management.

“Therefore, as their union of choice, we call upon management to urgently address the raised concerns as soon as possible  and avoid necessary industrial conflicts that may tarnish the image of our most respected organisation and the country,” Mugari said.  

The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) , a media professional body, has already demanded that the Zimpapers employees’ requests be met.

ZUJ Secretary General, Perfect Hlongwane, said the employees need a salary increase, retooling of the newsroom and adequate vehicles that will enable them to execute their duties effectively.

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