The International Federation of Journalists has expressed satisfaction at the adoption today in Dakar (Senegal) of a Framework Collective Agreement defining minimum working conditions for journalists, at the end of a seminar which brought together the representatives of media professionals in the member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“This unique initiative opens a window of opportunity for a major improvement of journalists' working conditions in sixteen countries”, said Bertrand Ginet, IFJ Projects Officer. “The single Act adopted today shall impact positively on their capacity to promote quality journalism and high professional standards”.
The representatives of professional unions and associations from the private and public sectors, employers’ organisations, government authorities and the ministries concerned, supported by a group of experts including IFJ delegates, prepared a model collective agreement to be validated by the meeting of ECOWAS Ministers as a reference document setting out the minimum standards to be applied in all the countries in the region.
Organised under the auspices of the Department of Communication of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Cinema and Media Division of the Francophone Inter-governmental Agency (AIF) and the West African Journalists’ Association from 8 to 10 November, the workshop provided a forum for frank and fruitful exchanges between representatives of professional organisations in the region on the principles underpinning high standards in journalism.
“This initiative has revealed a real dynamism in the region”, Ginet noted, adding that “at present, only two countries, namely Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire, have adopted a collective agreement. However, similar projects have been initiated in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, a process that will be facilitated by the Agreement adopted today.
The IFJ expressed its support to this initiative and to the efforts by WAJA to promote collective bargaining in the region. The Federation also called on the ECOWAS Member States to validate the Framework Agreement adopted by the social partners.
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The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 110 countries