The members of Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union have shut down the operations of state owned broadcasting media houses in the country as they agitate for better working conditions among other issues
| By Fidelia Salami | Dec. 29, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT |
ACTIVITIES in the both the federal and state owned media houses in the country have been crippled because of the on-going the three-day warning industrial action embarked on by their workers. The Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union, RATTAWU, members have been on strike since Wednesday, December 17, over the non-implementation of weigh-in-allowance for its members. The workers are demanding that the federal government should upgrade their salary structure. They are also agitating that government should grant the sector the right to collect Radio and TV rates as it is done in other countries. The union is also protesting government’s refusal to chart clear road map for the industry and the attempt to hurriedly digitalised the broadcast sector without following due process and adequate legislative backing.
The union had given the notice of their intention to go on strike in a statement signed by Henry Odugala, general secretary of the union, in Abuja. It said that the refusal of government to implement the weigh-in-allowance since 2012 was no longer acceptable.
Yemisi Bamgbose, President of RATTAWU, told Realnews that the strike action is just a three-day warning strike and that the union would suspend the strike thereafter. But if government fails to meet their demands, then the union will embark on an indefinite strike action. Bamgbose said that government should not hurriedly switch over from analogue to digital. Government has not provided enough structure that would warrant switching over from analogue to digital. Again in the entire Africa, only one country has digitalised and that country is Tanzania, which has only one television station. “You cannot compare that country with Nigeria which has more than 200 television stations across the country. We are therefore calling the attention of government so that they can lay a standard structure for digitalisation,” she said.
On staff general welfare, she said when you take a look at the salary that other sectors like health are taking and compare it with the salary that the media is taking, you will see that the media is receiving the lowest in terms of take home pay. This is also affecting the people that have retired in the media. Our take home pay actually determines what we go home with after retirement. Imagine a graduate who spent 35 years in service and retires as a manager earning one hundred and ninety-seven thousand naira, and his counterpart in other sectors earned as much as four hundred thousand naira, you can see the big difference. “These are the issues we want government to address”, Bamgbose said.
He urged the National Assembly to look into the section that should forbid the local government from reaping where they did not sow.
Reacting to strike action, a source at RATTAWU, who wishes anonymity, said government has taken the union for granted for too long, adding that the union was embarking on the warning strike to engender better welfare for members.
Presently, it is only Ogun state government that has implemented the weigh-in-allowance since it was approved in 2012. It should be recalled that during a consultation meeting between the federal government and RATTAWU, the government had promised that the issues would be given adequate attention.