The National Union of Printing, Publishing and Paper Product Workers on Thursday shut down the Apapa, Lagos Headquarters’ of ThisDay Newspaper following the non-payment of accumulated four month wages owed staff by the management.
In April, Nduka Obaigbena, Publisher of ThisDay said the delay in payment of staff wages was due to the attack on his Jabi, Abuja office by members of the Boko Haram sect. He then promised the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, in an open memo, that he was going to offset the debt within 30 days.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on the issue, the Secretary, NUJ Abuja, Emmanuel Ogbeche said NUJ had plans of shutting down the publishing firm but was beaten to it by the printing union.
“NUJ was supposed to shut down ThisDay next week but the printing, publishing and paper product workers beat us to that. NUJ will still go ahead next week to enforce working conditions. The shut down does not distract what NUJ has decided to do,” Mr. Ogbeche said
“ThisDay is not the only Newspaper that NUJ is set to go after following default of staff wages, any other newspaper or media organization that defaults will be implicated also. We know that
Peoples’ Daily is in arrears of workers’ wages, we intend to go there as well. Blueprint is in default of two months, we will also go there,” he said.
While saying that there was a comprehensive list of default publishing firms, Mr. Ogbeche advised publishers owing staff salary to pay up or face the consequences.
ThisDay publisher, Nduka Obaigbena, denied that his workers were being owed salaries for four months.
“They are not being owed for four months but just a couple of months and we said we are settling everybody and we are in the process of doing that.” Mr. Obaigbena told PREMIUM TIMES.
Speaking on when accumulated wages will be paid, Mr. Obaigbena said “there is a total reorganization of the operations of the company which includes payments; so that is in process right now.
“The company is not shutdown, Apapa is just one of our offices and there is just an industrial action; a legitimate cry of workers to embark on an industrial action,” he said.
Mr. Obaigbena said that he respects the rights of workers and that they are re-organizing the company and hoping to do it properly.