- Seven members of the Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) who work at the private 'Nation' Media Group claim to have lost their jobs mainly because of their involvement in trade union activities, which according to KUJ, has been a "systematic pattern of harassment and intimidation targeting" the union leadership and member journalists at Kenya's leading media organisation.
KUJ has accused the Nation Group - Kenya's leading privately-owned media company - of not providing good conditions of services for journalists and media workers. It was also grilled for barring their employees from joining trade unions through a clause specified in their employment contract.
"This is a flagrant violation of the fundamental human and labour rights of the employees as guaranteed by the Kenyan Constitution and the International Labour Organisation conventions which guarantee freedom of association," concurred Gabriel Baglo, Director of the International Federation of Journalists' (IFJ) Africa office. He insists that "the right to unionise guarantees peace and social justice, and it is the right of the employees of the Nation Media Group to join or form unions if they so wish."
The IFJ in a statement has urged the Nation Media Group management and its owner, Aga Khan, to ensure that the rights of its journalists and media workers in Kenya and in Africa in general are fully respected and guaranteed.
IFJ asked the media group to cease immediately the "harassment, intimidation and threats of dismissal" allegedly aimed at the employees. Rather, its pre-occupation should be to prioritise improving the working conditions of its employees and ensure that "a conducive environment" was created to guarantee maximum efficiency in compliance with international labour standards.
IFJ in its statement called for the immediate reinstatement of all employees that were recently "sacked unjustly and illegally" by the Nation Media Group management. The journalist union emphasised that the right to unionise is a fundamental human right and, therefore, "management should revoke without delay all such clauses in the employees' contracts that violate this basic right."
The Nation Media Group has kept a low public profile in this labour conflict and management has not given any public statements in this regard. It has not been possible to verify the the allegations of the trade union.
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