By MUHAMMED S. BAH
Mr. Ousman Drammeh, the President of the Gambia Transport Union, has called on the ministry of trade, industry, regional integration and employment (MoTIE), to provide the necessary support to enable them to become operational in accordance with their mandate.
He said the Union has not been able to carry out its functions regarding the operation of commercial trucks since April this year following their assumption of office. He added that the problem had actually started in February the same year.
Mr. Drammeh said this in an interview with this reporter at the Foroyaa office yesterday, 3 August, 2016.
The president of the transport union highlighted the challenges being faced by Gambian truck drivers in these past months as the requisite support from the said ministry is not forthcoming.
Mr Drammeh raised the issue of cargo brokers which, he said, should have been the responsibility of the union, adding that this is why the Gambian truck drivers are finding it difficult to transport merchandise.
“We came into office through a congress that was held on 24th April 2016 when the then transport association was dissolved by government due to certain reasons including the levying of unnecessary fees on transport cargo brokers. So we deemed it necessary, in consultation with government, to organise a congress and during which an executive committee was elected and given the responsibility to run the affairs of the transport system of the Gambia,” said the Gambia Transport Union President.
Mr. Drammeh noted that during the congress, which was attended by commercial vehicle owners and drivers, they adopted a document on the recommended working conditions as per the Labour Act.
“This document on the recommended working conditions was later forwarded to the ministry of trade for consideration, but the ministry’s response was that they will be developing a standard one for use by the union but this is still being awaited,” he disclosed.
Mr. Drammeh said as at now there are over one hundred commercial truck drivers sitting down for the past four months without any work to do.
He said the problems his Union is facing now include vehicles loading cargo in transit through Senegal which are being loaded by Senegalese cargo brokers using their own manifest, lack of access to loading points and car parks across the country which should be authorised by the ministry, etc.
Mr. Drammeh explained that they have been making a series of communications with the ministry requesting for their intervention to regularise the situation.