Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gambian Workers asked for 500% salary and wages increase


Garba Cham SG GNTUC (pix by The Point)
The Gambia National Trade Union Congress (GNTUC) in Banjul on Sunday called on the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs to increase salaries and wages by 500 percent without inflation on price commodities.
This, according to GNTUC Secretary General Ebrima Garba Cham will remarkably contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Poverty Reduction Strategic Plan (PRSP), the Project for Accelerate Growth and Employment (PAGE), the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Decent Work and Government’s blue print development plan, Vision 2020.
Mr. Garba Cham, who was reading a Resolution by Workers in The Gambia on May Day at the Independent Stadium in Banjul, lamented that prices of commodities are sky rocketing making very few to meet the basic necessities of life while salaries have not increased.
“35 percent reduction in salaries instituted to workers in the public enterprise, their family members will never be able to understand how a public enterprise which generates revenue could end up reducing salaries of employees.
Wages should be protected and no circumstance should justify a reduction of wages.  Appointment and wages are contracts and that allowances shall not be altered to any worker because, it will reduce the livelihood of the worker and increase vulnerability,” he stressed.
“With the precarious terms and conditions of work prevailing in the country, such as wrongful termination or dismissal, redundancies, harassment, harassment, insolvency without compliance with the labour laws of Section 57 by unscrupulous investors and default in payment of Social Security contributions and membership cards is rampant.”
He pointed out that most of the pension workers have died without enjoying the sweat of their labour as many employers are in default and yet their survivors cannot receive their claims from the Social Security.
Mr. Garba Cham also indicated that most of the workers are working without appointment letters, pay slip or registered with the Social Security. There exist also, inequality of treatment and opportunity in employment. There exist, where a worker goes to toilet and asked to write an apology for spending a few minutes at the toilet.
Some workers spend decades on grade one  without promotion, some  and denied the right to collective bargaining and finally terminated under no just course, because they engaged management into collective bargaining and finally to a claim, he stated.
Cham also revealed that for 24 months, some employers are reluctant to pay claims on annul leave, public holiday worked and overtime unit. And when they wrongfully terminated their service was the time when the management was willing to pay their claims, thus, such cases are still pending.
Cham maintained that most of the workforce is not provided with adequate social protection particularly those in the informal economy. Some died, some are handicapped as a result of industrial accidents which is a lost to society and industry and were not compensated, because workers in the informal economy are not covered by social protection legislations.
“Is it that the conducive environment we advocate for is to encouraged investors to enslave us, neo-colonise us or encouraging apartheid. If yes, it will not be tolerated. If no, we have to change our attitude, and be honest, sincere, committed and dedicated to enforce the rule of law without fear or favour. Add love and service, subtract hate and fear, multiply faith and courage, divined by truth and cheerfulness and build a better future for upcoming generations,” he said.
A country’s most critical resource is the people who are not only the drivers of its development but also at the pinnacle of its development agenda, the Minister for Trade, Regional Integration and Employment Mr. Abdou Colley said on May Day.
On May 1, 2011 at the Independence Stadium in Banjul, during celebrations marking the 21st Workers Day, he said: “Therefore, a country must make concerted efforts to tackle head on anything that threatens the welfare of its people who are the bedrock of its very existence.”       
The day that is set aside for workers around the world to reflect on their achievements and challenges and take new steps to improve and overcome such challenges, and Mr. Colley said it is in this regard that the Government of The Gambia continues to allocate “huge quantum” of resources to human capital formation as demonstrated by the construction and rehabilitation of schools, health facilities among others across the country.
“Employers should realize that enhancing employability and employment of labour is a collective enterprise, in which they also have a critical role to play. The employers should recognize that the workforces do have members who want to be careerists over time. Such workers should be given opportunities to develop their respective careers in furtherance of self-development and for attainment of organizational goals,” he said.
He urged employers to conduct on-the-job training when necessary, given that a well-motivated workforce is more likely deliver better, and it will contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of a nation if its is in respect of universally acceptable work ethics, professionalism, and amenable negotiation when aggrieved on accounts of bad working conditions, and  paltry remuneration. 

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