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    ZUJ locks horns with Zimpapers

    The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has locked horns with Zimbabwe Newspapers, the largest employer of journalists, after the company's management stopped remitting workers' subscriptions to the union.

    Harare - It is feared the publishing company made the decision after being pressurised by the Ministry of Information and Publicity, whose Permanent Secretary, George Charamba, has over recent weeks, been publicly hostile towards ZUJ.

    The union fears a similar order will be issued to other government media houses, whose journalists reportedly constitute about three quarters of the 300-strong ZUJ membership.
    The union, led by Matthew Takaona, has incensed Charamba over its support for a voluntary media council.

    ZUJ is part of a coalition of media groups, which constitute the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, which plans to launch an independent media council next Tuesday. The government sees the move as a threat to Tafataona Mahoso's Media and Information Commission (MIC).

    Charamba has accused ZUJ and media rights groups such as Misa-Zimbabwe of being part of a Western plot to topple President Robert Mugabe.

    In arrears

    Subscriptions from the Zimpapers Harare branch have now been in arrears for three months.
    The ZUJ executive council has filed an urgent High Court application challenging Zimpapers' cancellation of subscriptions of about 60 of its journalists and other media workers from the Harare branch of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company.

    ZUJ lawyer, Rodgers Matsikidze, said Zimpapers had yesterday filed a notice to oppose the union's action, arguing the matter was not urgent.

    "The company's argument is that the workers have refused to be members of ZUJ, although there is no evidence to that effect. It is my belief that the company is putting pressure on the ZUJ branch to claim that all members do not want anything to do with ZUJ. I personally think it's part of a bigger plan to weaken ZUJ. We will meet in court because there is more to it than meets the eye," he said.

    As a sign of government's growing opposition to ZUJ, it has introduced separate awards for its journalists so they do not compete in the industry-wide National Journalistic and Media Awards (NJAMA), run by ZUJ.

    Article by courtesy The Financial Gazette

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