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ASSOCIATED Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) has reportedly laid off all provincial stringers and plans to retrench several full time workers in the coming few weeks, it has emerged.

The development comes as the failing economy takes its toll on the country’s fledgling privately-owned media industry.

Sources at the newspaper group which publishes The Daily News, The Daily News on Sunday and the weekly Weekend Post told NewZimbabwe.com that the company was facing serious financial challenges which have also resulted in workers receiving their April salaries last week.

“As we speak, all freelance and sit-in correspondents in provinces have been laid off. The company has also indicated its intention to retrench full time staff within the next coming few weeks.

“To make matters worse, we only received our April salary last week,” said a staffer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Provincial correspondents who were based in towns and cities such as Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo and Bulawayo were being paid $35 for every published story while some had a fixed returner fee.

Some of the full- time workers who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com also complained that they were not on the company’s pension or medical aid schemes.

“We do not have pension or medical aid schemes. We are just paid our salaries. The company is short changing us because if we are retrenched we will not be able to get anything,” said another worker.

Another publishing house, Alpha Media (AMH), the publishers of Newsday, the Zimbabwe Independent, the Standard and the Southern Eye newspapers have also been facing serious challenges of late.

AMH has failed to pay workers in time. Recently the company retrenched editorial, aertising and distribution staff.

Source : New Zimbabwe