IFJ Letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cameroon - Support for a Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Media Sector

Brussels, November 29, 2005

To: The Prime Minister of the Republic of Cameroon

Subject: Support from the Cameroonian authorities for a collective bargaining agreement for the media sector

Your Excellency

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), which represents more than 500.000 journalists in more than 110 countries around the world, today expressed its satisfaction following the opening of collective bargaining negotiations for media staff, which started in Cameroon in July 2005. The objective of this initiative is to construct a national convention to regulate employer-employee relations and to guarantee better working conditions for journalists and media workers in Cameroon.

The IFJ is pleased that there is a joint committee that will negotiate and adopt a national convention for journalists and deal with related activities. The committee, created by a decree of the Minister for Labour and Social Security on July 7, 2005, is chaired by Mr. Oumar Alhadji Alifa. The committee had already held three sessions in Yaounde and Douala.

The IFJ follows with interest the course of this work. We are concerned, however, that the budget prepared by the president of the Commission did not meet the approval of the media owners in accordance with the provisions of the decree. Some sessions are thus organised without the necessary funds, which is likely to affect the quality of work.

The IFJ appeals to the Cameroonian authorities to ensure the financial commitment of the government in this important process. We ask that you provide state aid for communication, which will ensure that the workshops are of top quality and get the attention they deserve.

The IFJ, which represents journalists’ trade unions from around the world, pledges its moral support and expertise in this effort. We believe the adoption of a collective bargaining agreement will help professionalise and clean up the media sector. Our hope is based on the success of other initiatives already ratified in Africa, particularly the agreement ratified in Senegal in 1990.

We hope that you will carefully consider our observations on this matter and we offer our best regards.

Aidan White
Secrétaire Général