The Secretary General of Gambia National Trade Union Congress (GNTUC) Mr. Ebrima Garba Cham has recommended to President Yahya Jammeh to re-establish the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Social Welfare.
“It was here, but suffered a serious setback because of globalization which retards the progress of the country as workers were the victims and the actors of development,” he said on May Day, while reading the Resolution of the GNTUC.
With a Ministry of Labour, Mr. Cham said they could work closely with the Government as partners in development in coordinating, monitoring and evaluating to building a better nation.
According to him, an enabling work environment goes beyond the walls of adequate pay and ideal working conditions. “It requires unity of purpose among workers and between workers and employers.”
He said for work to progress, a peaceful and stable environment is necessary, because it is only through it that they can realise their potentials to the fullest. He applauds workers for their commitment to the ideals of dialogue and negotiation as oppose to confrontation and industrial action.
This approach as a tool for dispute resolution in the labour market is one of the secrets of their economic success, and they have made Gambia labour market a centre of attraction for foreign investors within the continent, he said.
He also called on all workers to continue to imbibe this spirit of industrial peace and harmony at the workplace. The government, employers, and workers all have a role to play in ensuring peace and stability.
He revealed that 90 percent of last year’s resolution has been implemented due to the fact that it is in cooperated into government’s priority programmes related to labour matters.
He lamented that license charges to tailors per “machine head” does not happen to any other trade in The Gambia, while recommending to the Ministry of Local Government and Lands to introduce petty trade licenses to tailors. “This way the government will realise revenue to the fullest”.
Mr. Cham also recommended to the Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment to convene a tripartite meeting between Gambia Port Authority (GPA) and the Dock Workers Port Labour Board to create the conditions for dialogue in the dispute between the two and solve matters amicably based on national interest.
He also charged that there is a need to review the Labour Act 2007 and to domesticate the ratified core of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Protocols related to labour in the process of regional and continental integration.
While calling for an extra juridical power to empower the Labour Department in promoting and protecting the dignity of workers, men and women, he charged for a review of the Employment Pay Roll Tax Bill guaranteeing 20 percent foreign employment, which is hindering employment opportunities for the citizenry.