MWAG STAGES SUCCESSFUL LABOUR RIGHTS WORKSHOP
St. George -- The Media Workers Association of Grenada (MWAG) completed a successful labour relations workshop at the Ministry of Works Conference room on Wednesday, June 13th. More than 20 media workers attended the three hour event organized as part of activities to celebrate Media Week 2012.
The workshop was staged in association with the Ministry of Labour and the two labour officers who facilitated the session both suggested that the Media Association become more active on industrial matters. "The system, as it evolved, didn't capture journalism except for making general rules to ensure media workers are entitled to something," declared Reginald Lord, a senior Labour Officer who worked as a journalist in broadcast and print. "The Media Workers Association really has to do something to get the legal rights to capture the workers who are not part of a bargaining unit. You can get a lot of benefits for your workers".
Lord's sentiments were also shared by Michael Horsford who also explained aspects of the Labour Code. "The Media Workers Association would have to think seriously about becoming some sort of trade union to represent the interests of the workers who are not unionized," said Horsford.
Issues covered included minimum wage, over time, vacation leave and termination allowance. And, attendees were reminded that Grenada's labour laws were last reviewed in 2003. "We have to advocate, as media workers, to get our part... our end ...our fair bargain to be a part of the labour laws," said Rose Frazer, a journalist with Real FM, based in St. Patrick. "Not just for me as an upcoming journalist but for those who are looking forward to coming into the field. So overall it was a good exercise".
Sherry Ann Blackman-Stephens, a reporter with the New Today newspaper said: "It was an eye opener. I agree with them that Media Workers Association should lobby with other trade unions and other labour organizations".
Media workers in Grenada are among the lowest paid in the Eastern Caribbean and MWAG assesses that many media workers here earn less than the set minimum wage for domestic workers which is EC$750.00 per month. One reporter is yet to receive an increase after working with a company for about ten years while another reporter earns about 700 EC dollars a month.
"What the Labour Code does now is recognize work done by whomever, including media practitioners, and it compensates based on some basic terms," explained MWAG's president Rawle Titus. MWAG is planning to appoint a special committee to carry out preliminary work and engage stakeholders as part of an overall effort to improve wages and working conditions for practitioners.
"People need to show interest. Not stay in the background, but come forward and participate in the future meetings and discussions and engage the various stakeholders and players on this issue," Titus told reporters following Wednesday's workshop which generated much interest.
"The objective is to have the Labour Code and the relevant laws amended so that media workers can be seen and recognized as a sector and be compensated as a sector."