MASVINGO- Journalists from Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), the biggest privately owned media Company in the country, have declared incapacitation and have not been reporting for work since yesterday.
A statement addressed to Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) Secretary General Perfect Hlongwane from AMH ZUJ branch dated May 29, 2023, confirms the matter.
The statement says that the workers’ salaries which are pegged in ZWL$ have been heavily eroded by the ever-rising inflation resulting in workers failing to meet day-to-day costs such as transport, rentals and even paying school fees for their children.
AMH becomes the second media house to declare incapacitation, barely a week after reporters from Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (ZimPapers) in Bulawayo.
AMH Editor-in-Chief Kolwani Nyathi refused to comment when contacted for a comment.
“I am not allowed to comment on policy issues. The right person to comment is the Human Resources Manager,” said Nyathi.
AMH Human Resources Manager Livison Nyathi referred questions to the group’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and veteran journalist Trevor Ncube.
AMH publishes NewsDay, The Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent.
Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Kindness Paradza urged media houses to pay their employees reasonable salaries.
“As Government, we urge media houses to pay their workers reasonable wages in tandem with the economic situation. We also encourage them to review journalists’ salaries so that they desist from getting bribes,” said Paradza.
“…our salaries have been heavily eroded by the ever-rising inflation, yet we are expected to continue producing content for the three publications and digital platforms. That the salaries have been heavily eroded, we are finding it extremely difficult to afford to put decent meals on our tables, clothe ourselves and our families, pay for our rentals, and worse even come to work daily.
“We are requesting that salaries be pegged in United States Dollars or equivalent on our contracts indexed to the official bank rate,” reads part of the statement.
The workers also decried short staffing, which reduces the quality of their work and proposed that management beef up staff in the newsroom.
“Being short-staffed means long working hours for staff that is already there, hence fatigue has crept in, but we have always strived to come to work and produce tomorrow’s newspaper. One journalist is made to write across all three publications which is against our contracts, ” reads the statement.
Veteran journalist and former Alpha Media Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vincent Kahiya warned at a recent workshop that several media houses could collapse by September owing to advertising which dropped by 75 per cent.