The Gambia Press Union (GPU) conducted a two-day training on Contract and Salary Negotiation for 50 journalists, editors and media managers.
The participants were trained in two sets of 25 each on the 10th and 11th September respectively at the Baobab Hotel Resort in Bijilo.
training is part of a project being implemented by the GPU in partnership with
Gambia Media Support (GAMES) with funding from the Denmark-based Civil Society
in Development (CISU).
In his welcome remarks, the GPU’s Senior Programme Officer, Modou S. Joof, said the objective of the training is to ensure media workers know how to negotiate their contracts, salaries and to learn what to take into account when signing their employment contracts.
“The training would improve professionalism in terms of management. It will also help journalists to know what their rights are when they are employed,” he said. “This training comes at a time when consultations with the media managers on the collective bargaining agreement are ongoing.”
In his keynote statement, the President of the GPU, said the Union developed the trainings as a response to the poor working conditions of media practitioners.
Sheriff Bojang Jr. said that many media outlets do not have a standardised salary structure for journalists, making it a problem to establish acceptable earning procedures and ensuring media workers enjoy all rights due to them in terms of salaries and allowances.
“Most media workers are without employment contracts, and are currently earning low levels of income,” he said.
A GPU study on the working conditions of media workers in The Gambia published in August 2020 found that there is a lack of standard wage rates for staff and freelancers media workers across media houses.
There is also a challenge of unionizing the media, and a lack of skills in salary negotiation.
Media employers are currently being engaged by the GPU on a Collective Bargaining Agreement designed by the Union to address these challenges.
On Friday, Mr. Bojang expressed hope that at the end of the training participants would acquire the skills necessary to negotiate for better salaries, contracts, and working conditions.
A good number of media workers also face non-payment of their social security benefits. The Gambia Press Union is currently working towards changing this.