Journalists at Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped state-run news agency, New
Ziana, have won a long legal battle with their employer when an
independent arbitrator gave them huge salary increments backdated two
years, writes Torby Muturikwa.
New Ziana management has not yet commented on the latest ruling which is likely to force the troubled group to seek assistance from elsewhere to meet its wage bill.

The salary dispute between the workers and their employer arose during collective bargaining in 2005.

Journalists and the rest of the workforce argued that their employer was shifting the goalposts after earlier indicating it would increase salaries by 70 percent.  The company denied it was responsible to pay the increase.

In his recent ruling, arbitrator George Nasho Wilson awarded the workers a 70 percent salary increase backdated to March 2005.

He also gave them a further 180 percent backdated to October 2006, with interest at the prescribed rate of 30 percent.

Wilson said there was a collective bargaining agreement between the workers and their employer as was reflected in the minutes of previous meetings between the workers and New Ziana.

"For the respondent to backtrack on that agreement would be tantamount to locking the stable when the horse has already bolted out," said Wilson.