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Journalists in Tanzania have resolved to establish a new trade union to defend their rights and interests.

The new trade union will be known as the Journalists Union of Tanzania (JUT).

A two-day workshop which among other things discussed the constitution of JUT was held in Dar es Salaam on June 5 and 6, 2014.

A Senior Programmes officer with the African Region Office of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) based in Dakar, Senegal, Pa Louis Thomasi, pledged the federation’s support to Tanzania journalists to have a well grounded and strong trade union.

He said it was utterly important for media practitioners to realise their rights and interests and have them defended and protected.

He cautioned that media owners were driven by super profits and were ready to use any pretexts to protect their earnings adding that in this case journalists and media workers in general need to be organized to protect their benefits.

In his presentation during the workshop he cited numerous examples where employers hoodwink employees to maximize on profits.

“Workers should careful read contracts before signing them as there may be clauses which are not favourable to them”, he warned.

The Deputy Secretary General of the Tanzania Congress of Trade Union of Tanzania (TUCTA), Hezron Kaaya was equally supportive of the move by the journalists to set up the new trade union.

He said journalists inTanzania are facing many problems including working without contracts and not appropriately remunerated.

The Resident Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, (FES) Rolf Paasch, also threw his weight in supporting the initiative to set up the new trade union.

He pledged that FES will provide assistance to facilitate the realisation of the goal of setting up the new trade union for journalists.

  “I know it is not ease, but through union and solidarity things will slowly change,” said Paasch.

It is strange, he observed, that the media always give prominent coverage of complaints and demands of workers of different sectors but they seldom cover problems of media workers.

A five-member team was picked during the meeting attended by journalists from across the country to finalize the process and eventually lead to assembling of national meeting which will pick leaders , formally establishing JUT within a year’s time.

The team comprises two pioneers - interim leader Samsom Kamalamo and Secretary Timothy Kitundu who prepared the JUT constitution and others are the Vice OPresident of the Union of Tanzania Press Club (UTPC), Jane Mihanji, Editor with the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT), Hamis Mzee and a journalists with New Habari 2000 - Arodia Peter.

JUT is being established following the de-registration of the Tanzania Union of Journalists (TUJ) by the registrar of associations after it failed to operate and recruit members.

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