IFJ Outraged over Shut Down of Nigeria’s Guardian Newspaper as Management Tries to Break Strike

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the move by management at the Guardian newspaper to end a 12-day strike by shutting down the newspaper and dismissing all its employees.

The journalists and the other workers at the paper have been on strike since November 8 after negotiations with managers over a pay raise and better working conditions stalled. The Guardian online and print editions have not been published since then.

“We are outraged by the strike-breaking technique used by The Guardian management,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “Closing the paper and reopening it later with a new staff is an unfair labour practice that only aims to break the union and undermine workers’ rights. We call on the management to resume negotiation with the workers to negotiate a fair contract.”

The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in a letter sent to the Federal Minister of Labour on November 16 urged him to “intervene directly and immediately” in the dispute between the workers and the management of The Guardian.

The IFJ backs the call of its affiliate the NUJ for the government to take strong action to protect the newspaper employees’ rights, including referring the dispute to the Industrial Arbitration Panel to “save the jobs of about 800 journalists and other workers.”

The Guardian management announced to our in-house members that they will close down the paper with effect from Friday and sack all our members,” Usman Leman, NUJ National Secretary told the IFJ.

The NUJ members and other workers at the newspaper demanded a 50 per cent pay rise, improvement of the computer and Internet system and provision of a staff bus. The talks started in March of this year and were broke down on November 6.

According to the NUJ’s letter to the Minister, the workers agreed to resume work two days later, agreeing to accept 20 per cent pay rise. The management responded by refusing to put any agreements on other issues in dispute in writing and then locked out the NUJ members, the union said.

For more information contact the IFJ at + 221 33 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide