GREEN INDUSTRY WORKERS APPEAL FOR PAYMENT OF SALARY ARREARS

By Mustapha Jallow
Former workers of the Green Industry, comprising eight women and two
men, visited the Foroyaa office last Wednesday, 18 March, to appeal
for the intervention of the authorities to address their plight of not
having been paid salaries for more than fifteen months.The delegation, which claimed to have been amplifying the  voices  of
nearly one hundred workers who could not all come, also indicated that
they want to know their fate as workers of this sewing industry which
they claimed has now closed down.
“Before the ‘Koriteh’ feast in 2013, we were invited to state house in
Banjul and paid five months of the eight months salary arrears the
industry owed us. Since then, we have been going work without pay up
to January 2015 (this year),” said one of the ladies.
They said all of them have been struggling to go to work all
throughout this period with the hope that they will be paid their
salary arrears. “We begged for free lift almost everyday in order to
go to work and that when we report for work, they always give us
something to do,” she explained.
She said the majority of them are women some of whom are single
parents who are trying to engage in decent work with a little salary
in order to make ends meet. Some of them, she added, are the
breadwinners in their families who have taken responsibility for the
maintenance of their children, siblings and parents as well as pay
house rent and other utilities, etc.
“Life has been very tough for me as a mother. For more than fifteen
months I have been coming to work and going home without any pay at
the end of the month. It was only in late 2014 when the company had a
contract, after which we were each given a token sum to take home,”
she added.
The group also expressed the wish to know their fate as workers of the
Green Industry Company.
“No one came to tell us anything about why we were not being paid our
salaries and what is happening with the company. It was only in
January this year when we saw some trucks coming to take away all the
sewing machines at the place. When they came they only asked us to
remove whatever personal belongings we may have there before they
clear the place. It took them three days to remove all the machines,”
explained one of the ladies.
She added that the place is now being used by others engaged in wood
related work.
“Some of us come all the way from Kombo East and others as far away as
Banjul and Kombo South,” said one of the men in the delegation.
They said the authorities established the sewing industry for them to
work and that this was the reason why they had written a letter to
state house in 2013 to bring their plight to his attention. “
The group also claimed that they have been to the Labour department as
well as the Ministry of trade to seek for their intervention but to no
avail.
The desperate looking women and men said they want the president to
intervene so that their salary arrears would be settled now that the
plant is closed down.
Talking to the Green Industry manager Mr. Sheriff Nyan on phone to
enquire about the claims of the workers yesterday, he told this
reporter “they are not my workers and please don’t call me back”.
Situated within the premises of the Banjul International Airport, the
Green Industry was engaged in industrial sewing producing uniforms and
other outfits for government institutions, including the military,
schools as well as private customers.