‘34% of media workers earn less than D2,500 a month’


By Aisha Tamba

The Gambia Press Union yesterday tabled the result of a survey conducted into the working conditions of Gambian media workers. The marathon report outlined the pay, employment status, training and other conditions media workers operate under in the country.

The report was presented to media house owners and Gambian journalists as employers and employees, who spent the whole day discussing it and its implications. Alongside the report was also a draft of the GPU’s Collective Bargaining Document, which is aimed at guiding media owners and their staff or prospective employees and freelancers as to the terms of contract, pay or conditions. 


Addressing the meeting which took place at the Baobab Resort hotel in Bijilo, Saikou Jammeh, the GPU Secretary-General, explained that there are increasing demands from journalists for improvement in their condition of services.

He however admitted that the working conditions of media practitioners have improved within the past few years, “as there have been pay rises in a lot of media houses. In some, it’s about 100 per cent or even more” adding that reporters are taking home today what was the standard for editors. ”Which is good news,” Jammeh said.

However, Mr Jammeh went on to state the bad news: “The recent GPU survey of the working conditions of some of the reporters and freelance journalists are quite disturbing and unacceptable in the media. We are supposed to be the standard-bearers in upholding the values of decency at work and the value of labour which are quintessentially human rights.”

He added that some journalists, staff, freelancers go for months without being paid salaries or wages. “We have 72 per cent who feel that they are not properly rewarded and 34 per cent who are earning less than D2,500 a month while quite a good number do not have employment letters or employment contracts which clearly defined the terms and conditions. And majority of them work for many hours, some at least 13 hours a day, six days a week, without ever going on annual leave. Even then, media houses are failing to provide minimum social protection for them including payment of social security that is required by law”.

He also underlined the ”heart-breaking” discrimination of female journalists in the media. ”For female journalists, it is even a bigger problem because they are abused, sometimes sexually, and they are discriminated at their workplaces. These and many other key findings of this research should break the heart of any decent person,” he lamented.

Jammeh continued that collective bargaining plays a very important role in improving conditions of service, quality journalism and ensuring stability in the newsroom. “It provides guarantees for the rights of journalists to create modalities for resurfacing problems, establish negotiations, procedures, union structures, minimum wages etc.”

He called on all media employees and employers to welcome the initiative. ”Because the aim is very simple and it’s a good one: We want to make the media industry more stable, professional and we want media practitioners to be better motivated, ” he concluded.

Nuha Manneh, a tax manager at the GRA, spoke on the importance of prompt payment of taxes on behalf of employees.

Abdou Saidy, principal labour officer at the department of Labour, spent the day explaining the importance of labour laws of The Gambia as it concerns the report and the Collective Bargaining Document.