At least three media houses have expressed their will to commit to the Gambia Press Union’s the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) following a one-day consultation with broadcast media owners.
The Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), Choice FM, and Eye Africa TV are the media houses that have expressed their will to commit to the CBA, which is aimed at addressing the issues of poor wages, late payment of salaries and a lack of other essential employee benefits.
This development comes at the back of a March 9, 2022 consultation workshop with owners and managers of radio and TV stations organised by the GPU in partnership with the Gambia Media Support (GAMES) as part of an advocacy, capacity building, and membership welfare project funded by the Civil Society Fund (CISU).
At Wednesday’s meeting, as was in previous engagements with media owners and managers across the board, some media representatives raised concerns about not having the means to meet the proposed financial obligations outlined in the CBA, the minimum for which is D5000 ($100) and D7000 ($135) salary for reporters in newspapers, online, radio and TV platforms.
Currently, 34% of media workers earn less than D2500 ($50) a month, and many others are working without contracts, and are faced with late salary payments, according to a study on the Working Conditions of Media Workers in The Gambia published by the GPU in 2020.
“The media is faced with numerous challenges; however, I believe one of the biggest challenges is the poor working conditions of media workers,” the GPU President, Muhammed S. Bah, said in his welcome remarks on Wednesday.
Bah said it was important for all media employers to commit to ensuring the full implementation of the CBA in order to improve working conditions for all media workers and the quality of work output by media houses.
“It is important for employers to comply with local and international labour standards not only for the benefit of their workers, but also for the benefit of their media houses,” Bah said. “This will surely enhance professionalism and promote excellence in news reporting and programming.”
The expression of will from GRTS, Choice FM and Eye Africa TV to commit to the CBA is a positive step in our quest to improve working conditions for media workers, which includes addressing discrimination at work, respect for media ethics, media freedom, and conditions of employment addressing issues of employment contracts, internship, salaries and other benefits specified in Gambian labour laws.
“The show of will from these three media houses is commendable, and we hope to see them signing the collective bargaining agreement in follow-up engagements,” the GPU Secretary General, Modou S. Joof, said. “We hope this will be a motivating factor for the remaining mass of media organisations to commit to improving the welfare of media workers.”
Currently, from a list of 30 radio stations, 5 TV stations, 8 newspapers, and 11 online media platforms, three media houses (GRTS, QTV, and Kerr Fatou) are said to [be] paying staff either within or above the minimum pay outlined in the CBA.
Some media houses have yet to be reached, but we hope to see more positive outcomes in follow-up consultations in due course.
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