Striking GMC Staff Complain of Unfair Treatment

By MUHAMMED S BAH and Nelson Manneh

Gambia Milling Corporation Company (GMC) Staff on Monday 27thFebruary, protested against the management of the company regarding what they called the unfair treatment they are experiencing in the company.

The following were the request by the staff from to GMC

  1. They said they need a qualified Gambian HR as per our constitution/PMO
  2. 100% Medical insurance including staff’s family
  3. Full time contract for employees after 6 months’ probation
  4. Salary increment and better incentive
  5. Staff’s association
  6. Respect for employees and customers
  7. Employ the right people at the right post
  8. Provide staff bus
  9. Work load (packers to their job, etc)
  10. Provide access to loan for all employees
  11. Promotion and upgrading of staff

The staff complained of many things that they say the company promised to do but fail to fulfill. They also say the way management treats them is unprofessional and inhuman and that it makes them look like slaves.

Speaking on behalf of the staff, Madam Marie Catherine Njie a staff of the company said they are not respected as staff in the company and the management is not concerned with their welfare, “…when we report for work by seven they don’t allow us to go out even to buy bread, the security guards will not allow you to go out. If the human resources manager is not around to give you a permit you will not go out for breakfast,” she explained.

Madam Njie added that if a staff is sick at home one has to manage to come to work else one will be marked absent and it will be deducted from one’s salary.

Omar Saho for his part said when one is appointed in the company, one spends six months on probation after that the management will say they will employ the individual which is not usually done, “all of us here are under one year contract”. He said they were told that they will increase their salary which is not done up to date. “The company used to have a staff association but the management dissolved it. They said it will not exist. We have no access to loans, no risk allowance, no personal benefits we are just here for the wellbeing of the company”, he explained.

He said a staff by the name Habibou Bojang had an accident in the course of work but the company did not take the responsibility of paying for his treatment bills and he struggles to pay it by himself which he said is not fair.

Madam Anta Jobe expressed her dissatisfaction to the extent of crying and said some of them have been serving the company for more than four years but still cannot buy a bicycle. “Since the establishment of this company we have no staff bus. We pay our own fares to come to work; we don’t have any medical insurance. If you are sick you are responsible for your own treatment,’’ she explained. Madam Jobe asserted that if you come to work and go home on a day without been sacked ‘you have to thank God’. “The manager sacks staff without any explanation,” she noted.

Habibu Bojang is a staff who lost one of his arms while working at the factory. He expressed disappointment that he was not taken care of as expected, especially being a staff.

Some of the senior staff who are part of the management disclosed that the company is making over 5 million Dalasi every month but still the working conditions of the staff is not good.

The secretary General of Gambia workers union Ebrima Garba told reporters that he came to find out the facts about the dispute from both the staff and management  so that he will resolve the matter.

Foroyaa tried to meet the manager but he said he was very busy. He however promised to get back to us when he is done, but we did not hear from him at the time of going to press.

The Police O/C Habibou Sanyang, who was at the scene told this paper that their role there is to maintain the peace, and any information needed can be obtained from the PRO.

Meanwhile the strike is still going on.