By Binta Jaiteh
The National Assembly select committee on Trade and Regional Integration presented its report on the Labor Bill 2020 which was adopted on Monday by the plenary.
Hon Abdou Sowe who presented the report said the object of the Bill is to provide not only monetary benefits but also to ensure occupational health and safety at the workplace.
He also said the review is necessitated due to numerous loopholes and unclear provisions that have been identified in the Labor Act, of 2007. Noting that during the stakeholder consultations, it was highlighted that the current Act is silent on important issues such as the expatriate quota, domestic servants’ unionism, and workplace requirements. Most importantly the Labor Act, of 2007 was reviewed to promote decent work, social dialogue, and employment.
The Labor Act, he said is also being reviewed to be in conformity with other existing laws of The Gambia and to also take into consideration recommendations from the international partners, Employers and Trade Unions Organizations.
Hon Sowe explained that factors that necessitate the proposed enactment of this Bill have been fully explored and have been dealt with accordingly. He added that the duties and the functions of the Commissioner of Labor has been covered in part one of the Bill.
“Part three covers the licensing and operations of private employment agencies while Part four talks about the establishment, composition, and functions of the Labour Advisory Board. The establishment, composition, and functions of the Expatriate Quota Allocation Board and the Industrial Tribunal are covered in parts five and six respectively.
He continued: “Part seven covers the Rights and Duties of both Employers and Employees. Conditions regarding the employment of Children, Women, and Persons with Disability are covered in parts eight, nine, and ten respectively. Labor Subcontracting is covered in part eleven. Parts twelve and thirteen cover the maintenance and Development of Human Resources and Contracts of Employment and their types respectively.
“Occupational Health, Safety, and welfare are covered under part fifteen and part sixteen cover the Protection of Wages. Parts seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen covered the issues of Discipline, Dismissal, Redundancy, and Freedom to associate, the Right to Collective Bargaining, and Industrial Relations and Miscellaneous respectively. The witnesses emphasized the necessity for the various Boards and the Industrial Tribunal to manifest competence and professionalism in all their undertakings to handle labor issues in the country.”
Hon Sowe further stated that the scrutiny, evidence consideration, and advice for recommendations of the committee is that Clause 2, a proposal to change “Registrar” to “Register” and be defined as “the registration done by the Registrar General” was done by the legal expert from the MoJ for consideration of both the committee and the Ministry were in agreement with the proposal to be incorporated into the Bill.”
However, he said administration labor of matters Clause 8, evidence; the committee recommends the replacement of the word “exceeding” with “not less than.” This will give the judge options when making judgments and the severity of the punishment will discourage the act. Consideration, The Ministry agreed with the recommendation and the advice was that it is proposed that Clause 8 with amendments, as presented in the edited version of the Bill, incorporating all the amendments stands as part of the Bill.