GNTU Secretary General Ebrima Garba Cham expressed the readiness of the workers union to address such issues in his speech delivered on Monday at the commemoration of May Day at MacCarthy Square in Banjul.
“The Gambia National Trade Union Congress is alive to the poor working conditions of workers,” Mr Cham stated, saying: “Exploitation of employees is unacceptable and plans are at advanced stages to deal with these issues.”
He told employers: “May-Day celebrations are not only for festivities but also an occasion that provides us an opportunity for sober reflection and renewal of your adherence to the principles upon which the international accords and protocols are premised.
“The occasion is virtually a stock taking of the conditions which you the producers of the nation’s wealth have to endure in upholding and promoting the principles of justice, equal remuneration for work of equal value, safe and healthy work conditions through appropriate policy orientation.”
“As partners in development, this day serves as a forum to make sober reflections of our achievements and challenges in the previous year and to make projections for the future. The conducive work environment goes beyond the demands for adequate remuneration and ideal working conditions. It requires unity of purpose among and between workers and employers in the protection and promotion of your varied interests.”
The workers union secretary general says it is the individual and collective responsibility of workers, employers and the government to make The Gambia a better place to live and work, as it is through such national efforts that the nation would be productive, peaceful and stable and all would realize their potentials to the fullest.
“In this regard, the worker, the employer and the government all have important roles to play in the realization of our common objectives,” he said. “While paying tribute to your contribution towards national development, I assure you of the union’s continued support for you always in your struggles.”
Cham said the adverse impacts of the Russian-Ukrain war as well as the lingering effects of Covid-19 affected the income of families due to food price increases in particular, as well as the country, which imports half of its food requirements including rice and petrol.
He said The Gambia spends 80 million dollars (D 4 billion) on rice importation derailing national agriculture as the main back bone of the country economy.