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GJA now a unionised body

The Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) on Friday issued the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), the umbrella organisation of journalists in Ghana, with a Trade Union Registration Certificate.

With this, the GJA has now been legally empowered to fight for the industrial and professional rights of media workers in Ghana and negotiate their conditions of service.

Mr Joshua Ansah, the Deputy General Secretary of the TUC, presented the certificate to Mr Affail Monney, the GJA President in Accra.

This follows the registration of the GJA as a unionized body, on September 12, 2017, under section 84 of the Labour Act 2003 (ACT 651).

The GJA was formed on August 15, 1949. 

Mr Monney said, to this end, the GJA was rolling out an immediate, massive and expansive drive to register all non-unionised media workers in Ghana, especially those in the private sector. 
“From Paga to Aflao and Axim to Sandema, all media workers must maximise this unique window of opportunity to register. All GJA regional executives must facilitate this bold venture.” 

Other GJA officials who graced the occasion are Mrs Linda Asante-Agyei, Treasurer and Bright Kwame Blewu, the Director of the Ghana International Press Centre.

Mr Monney said the journey of unionisation had been long and the road had been hard; recounting that, “After going back and forth, the GJA passed a resolution in 2011 to metamorphose into a trade union. 

“This was under the Presidency of Mr Ransford Tetteh.”  

He paid tribute to those who played key roles in getting the Association unionised, including Mr Bright Kwame Blewu, Mr Mohammed Affum, a Labour Consultant; Mr Fiifi Nettey, Administrative Officer and Madam Dora Larbi, Accounts Officer.

He Monney at the last Congress of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in France, in 2016, all the affiliates to the world body were given up to 2018 to unionise; adding that, “We are, therefore, indebted to the IFJ for its promptings, which also fueled the process of unionisation”. 

On the benefits of Unionisation, Mr Monney said: “Unionized employees make an average of 30 per cent more pay than non-unionised workers, 92 per cent of union workers have health related coverage and unionised workers enjoy guaranteed pensions”. 

He said these facts and many more contrasted sharply with the general conditions of media workers in Ghana.

Mr Monney stated that a survey by the TUC on the wages and working conditions of media workers, indeed, highlighted the blatant but heartrending reality that media practitioners were among the poorly paid in Ghana. 

“In some worse case scenarios, many journalists are not paid at all,” he stated. “One may ask: what crime have the affected or struggling journalists committed for them to be condemned to the pauperised community?” 

“Thank God! Now, the pitiable, ignoble and horrible narrative will be consigned to the dustbin of history as the GJA has now been legally empowered to fight for the industrial and professional rights of media workers in Ghana,” he stated.

He said to advance their twin agenda of welfarism and professionalism, their administration was almost ready to implement the GJA Fund, which would complement the SSNIT Pension Fund; stating that, “After five years, contributors could access the Fund for projects of their choice”. 

He said the GJA was also activating its Distress Fund, which was established with seed money from the Fidelity Bank. 

Additionally, he said, insurance proposals from the Vanguard Assurance and MET Insurance were begging to be rolled out in response to the risks and dangers, to which their people were exposed on daily basis.  

“The GJA makes it abundantly clear that it poses no threat to existing unions and employers,” Mr Monney stated.

He expressed gratitude to investors in the media, including Mr Kwesi Pratt Junior, Osei Kwame ‘Despite’, Dr Kwabena Duffuor, Dr Samuel Amo Tobbin, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, Mr Kennedy Agyepong, and others for the job opportunities they had offered to the numerous media workers across. 

“As the saying goes, gratitude is the least of virtues but ingratitude is the worst of vices,” he said. 
Indeed, it will be at the height of ingratitude to turn our guns on media owners in the name of unionisation,” he said. 

“Unionisation in the second term of our administration, Insha Allah, should and will be a vehicle to enhance the conditions of service of media workers but not a weapon to antagonise media owners,” he added.

Mr Ansah, for his part, said the unionisation of the GJA, was an opportunity for journalists to be well organised and also get closer to each other to fight for their rights.

He said the TUC was always ready to stand by the GJA in all their endeavours and undertakings. 

Source: GNA

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