The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) said on Tuesday it would start picketing media organisations owing journalists from Friday, May 17.
The President of the union, Malam Mohammed Garba, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Garba said that the union had written all media organisations in the country to update the payment of salaries of journalists on their payroll or incur its wrath.
He warned that media organisations that still owe journalists salaries from three months upward would be picketed by a team from the union’s national secretariat.
“Based on the records made available to us as at today, the situation is very bad, about 60 per cent of media organisations in this country are still defaulting in the payment of salaries of journalists working with them.
“We are even surprised that some of the major media organisations are defaulting, even when some of them are very comfortable in terms of revenue, they still owe up to six, seven and some even 22 months.
“We have written formal letters to all them and I can assure you that by the end of next week any media organisation that is still defaulting in the payment of salaries for up to three months will be closed; we will picket them until they comply,’’ he said.
Garba said that the union had secured the cooperation of the relevant authorities on the matter and vowed to pursue the policy to a logical conclusion.
He also warned that the union would no longer fold its arms and watch its members treated like slaves by some proprietors who had no regard for the profession.
The president said that the decision to picket defaulting media organisations in the country was part of measures taken by the union to correct ills in the industry.
On his part, the President of RATTAWU, Mr Yemisi Bamgbose, has called for improved welfare for journalists in the country.
In an interview with NAN, Bamgbose decried the non-payment of salaries of journalists by some media organisations in the country.
He said that the trend did not portray the profession in good light in spite of the huge contributions media practitioners were making in entrenching peace and harmony in the society.
Bamgbose called on private media proprietors in the country to re-examine their conscience and make the welfare of their staff a priority.
The president said that for those on government payroll, the union was working tirelessly to ensure that a new salary scale was approved.
On the arrears of the weigh-in allowance, he said that the union had written a letter to remind the Minister of Labour and the Accountant-General of the Federation for the payment of the balance.
Bamgbose said that the union was waiting for government to commence the payment of the balance of the arrears, noting that it would not want to be forced to call for an industrial action to compel government to pay the arrears.
He expressed optimism that the Federal Government would soon commence the payment of the balance of the arrears.
The issue of non-payment of salaries in most media organisations in the country had lingered on for many years.