By Aja Musu Bah-Daffeh
The Secretary General of the Gambia National Trade Union Congress (GNTUC), Mr. Ebrima Garba Cham has said May-Day celebrations are not only for festivities but also, an occasion that provides us an opportunity for sober reflection and renewal of the adherence to the principles upon which the international accords and protocols are premised.
Mr Cham made these remarks while addressing employees of sixty-nine (69) institutions across the Greater Banjul Area who converged at the Independence Stadium, Bakau on Monday 1st May 2017 to commemorate May-Day for workers.
This year’s theme dedicated to the commemoration is “one nation, one people for building of the Gambia”.
The trade unionist first commended the Workers for their immense contribution towards the socio-economic development of the country.
He added that conducive work environment goes beyond the demands for adequate remuneration and ideal working conditions. He continued that it requires unity of purpose among and between workers and employers in the protection and promotion of one’s varied interests. He called on the workers to inculcate the spirit of industrial peace and harmony at the work places to realize their objectives.
“The GNTUC is alive to the working conditions, exploitation of employees, unlawful terminations, irregular employment contacts, unpaid claims as a result of industrial accidents, unreported cases to the injuries compensation commissioner, redundancies without payment, unremitted social security contributions etc. We deplored these unacceptable conditions and plans are at advanced stages to deal with these issues,” said Mr. Cham.
Doctor Isatou Touray, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment said May-Day stands for the solidarity of the working class of the world thus serving the purpose for which it was originally designated as a labour holiday namely to act as a harbinger of a feature of freedom, peace and justice for all.
She said the International Labor Organization (ILO) since 1919 has been at the forefront in the pursuit of universal poverty reduction through social dialogue. Dr. Touray asserted that the government of The Gambia recognizes that the country’s most critical resource is its people who are not only the drivers of its development but also at the pinnacle of its development agenda.
She stated that as a government, they will continue to allocate resources to human capital formation to enable the availability of a healthy and skilled labour force to industries as well as enhancement of employability and employment of labour both in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
The Minister of Youths and Sports congratulated the Gambian workers noting that they are ready to act as change agents in the struggle to develop the New Gambia. He said in the new Gambia, the way forward is to work together as a united nation and people.
“Without peace and stability in The Gambia, we will find it difficult to achieve the development we want for ourselves and the country. Therefore it is important that we use this platform like this to preach peace, tolerance, understanding, forgiveness and reconciliation,” said Hon. Minister. He challenged all the workers to be ambassadors of peace for the development of The Gambia.