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NLC President Calls for Better Pay , Benefits for Journalists

Joe Ajaero, President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, has called for improved wages, insurance coverage, and pensions for journalists throughout Nigeria. During a visit to the President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Dr. Chris Isiguzo, in Abuja, Ajaero highlighted the crucial role journalists played in Nigeria’s fight for independence and in sustaining its current democracy. He lamented that despite their contributions, journalists often struggle to receive their salaries.

Ajaero emphasized that the condition of journalism is deteriorating, even as technology advances the field. He criticized the inadequate attention given to journalists’ welfare, noting that they work tirelessly without weekends, public holidays, or festive breaks, often without support from others or even their peers.

“Journalists are dedicated professionals fighting for everyone, yet no one fights for them. It’s disheartening that even when a journalist is sacked or unpaid for a year, their plight goes unreported by their colleagues,” Ajaero remarked.

He proposed establishing a biennial consultative forum to negotiate minimum wages with media employers. Additionally, he advocated for pensions and insurance coverage to improve journalists’ working conditions. Ajaero insisted that withholding journalists’ salaries should be considered a criminal offense.

While acknowledging the challenges faced by publishers, Ajaero argued that these should not justify failing to pay employees. He pointed out that many journalists spend their limited salaries on transportation for work, which is unacceptable.

He also called for regulation of online media practices to integrate them into the NUJ framework.

Dr. Isiguzo, on his part, mentioned that the NUJ is actively working to address issues in the journalism industry, including revising the Code of Ethics to outline employer responsibilities towards media workers. He also raised concerns about the misdirection of check-off dues, which are not reaching the NUJ as intended.

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