New union for Zim media, ICT workers
- Published on 29 June 2012
A pressure lobby group has been formed to help bargain for better working conditions and remuneration for Zimbabwean journalists and other workers in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sectors.
The setting up of the Media, Information and Communication Technology Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe (MICTAWUZ) comes on the back of strong calls for the opening up of the airwaves in that country.
The formation of the union comes at a time when there are worries from experts that the country’s first talk radio station, Star FM – which is owned by the state run Zimpapers group – will be highly critical of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, especially ahead of possible elections early next year.
Reason Tafadzwa Masomera, the union’s acting secretary-general confirmed its establishment this week and added that they now expect to come up with a collective bargaining agreement for the journalism and ICT sectors.
“After accreditation with the Ministry of Labour, we then expect to come up with a National Employment Council (NEC) and later a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the industry.”
The media sector has grown in Zimbabwe and analyst Johannes Kwangwari says there is growing acknowledgement of the internet as a major publishing model.
“The world over, publishers are moving online and this is slowly happening in Zimbabwe because we now have all major newspapers online and also some online based publications, hence the greater need for such a union to protect workers,” he said.
Most Zimbabweans still rely on internet cafes for accessibility and Masomera said the new union will cater for workers in such companies.
The establishment of the media and ICT workers union follows disgruntlements among journalists over the ineffectiveness of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ). Some journalists said ZUJ has failed in its mandate “to be there for journalists” and to protect “the interests of journalists”.
Some journalists are forced to work overtime without proper remuneration as most newsrooms are short-staffed while salaries average just below $500 for juniors and $800 for seniors.