A collective bargaining agreement is in the pipeline for three media houses that have expressed their will to commit to the Gambia Press Union’s Collective Bargaining Agreement following a one-day consultation with broadcast media owners.
The agreement aims to address late payment of salaries, poor wages, and various other essential employee benefits. The Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), Eye Africa TV and Choice FM have since expressed their interest to commit to the agreement.
The consultation workshop, which sparked the interest of the three media houses, was organised by Gambia Press Union (GPU). GPU had invited owners and managers of radio and TV stations as part of the capacity building, advocacy, and membership welfare project funded by the Civil Society Fund (CISU).
The meeting allowed media owners and managers to engage on their concerns of not having the means to meet the proposed financial obligations outlined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). For example, the CBA highlights the minimum salary for reporters in newspapers, online, radio and TV platforms.
According to a study on the Working Conditions of Media Workers in The Gambia published by the GPU in 2020, many media professionals are working without a contract and often face late salary payments.
GPU President, Muhammed S. Bah, expressed his frustration noting that “the challenges faced by the media are mostly poor working conditions, a challenge that can be easily improved by committing to ensuring the full implementation of the CBA. This outlook will, in turn, improve working conditions for all media workers, instantly increasing the quality of output by media houses.”
“It is highly essential for employers to comply with labour standards for the benefit of their workers and their media houses,” Bah added.
“This view will enhance professionalism and, therefore, promote excellence in news reporting and programming.”
The will and commitment from Eye Africa TV, GRTS, and Choice FM is a positive step in the quest to improve working conditions for media professionals. “We hope to see the three media houses sign the collective bargaining agreement, said Modou S. Joof, the GPU Secretary-General. “We wish this move will motivate other mass media organisations to commit to the improvement and welfare of media practitioners, added Joof.