Journalists in dispute with their employer, Tiso Black Star Group, staged a protest at its headquarters at The Hill on Empire in Joburg yesterday. Nhlanhla Phillips African News Agency (ANA)
Not even a R500 pay cheque at the end of this month will stop disgruntled workers at Tiso Blackstar from their protest action.

This is according to employees, who said they were spearheading the fight against low salaries, lack of bonuses and general poor working conditions for future journalists.

Tiso owns various newspaper titles across the country.

“It’s difficult but it has to be done. I don’t want to lie, all of us know that today (Thursday) is a big risk because the company won’t pay us if we strike.

“With the little salary that we earn, it’s going be a tough one for us but something has to give.

“If it means that earning R500 on pay day so be it, because we are hoping that things can change in the future,” said the employee, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation.

A memorandum was expected to be issued to employees on Tuesday.

“The state capture commission was resuming today (yesterday) so we used the opportunity to get our issues out there. We don’t know how the newspaper is going to come out.

“They may just get everything from the newswires and release a newspaper. They didn’t have staff and manpower (on Thursday),” said another staffer.

The employees were expected to picket again on Friday.

This week, employees from Cell C protested outside Tiso offices in Parktown in solidarity with the company’s staff. Cell C workers were also striking over non-payment of bonuses.

They all belong to the Information Communication Technology Union.

Its president Moeketsi Lepheana said there were 161 workers protesting specifically in the Gauteng region.

“We achieved what we wanted to. On Monday, there will be a complete shutdown and our demands still stand. We hope our members won’t cover the elections next week.

“It is a positive and peaceful protest and we hope we won’t be victimised by Tiso management,” said Lepheana.

Tiso managing director Andrew Gill said: “While the employees have a right to go on strike, all we can do is try and engage with our employees as it is in the best interest of the company and the employees to find consensus.”

He added that there were less than 30 people who went on strike as opposed to inaccurate reports/union allegations that it represented 80% of the workforce.