THE GAMBIA LABOUR CONGRESS ON BEHALF OF ITS AFFILIATES Delivered by OUSMAN DRAMMEH

VIEWS OF TRADE UNIONS
With Ousman Sillah

The Gambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating InternationalOusman Drammeh
Workers’ Day on the 1 May with the usual march pass parade followed by a sporting event involving workers in the civil service, parastatal bodies, private sector and trade union representatives.This year’s event was held at the main square in Banjul where the
parade culminated with the usual speeches delivered by a
representative of the unions highlighting the working conditions of
workers and renewing their demands for improvement and for government
to also indicate its commitment to addressing labour concerns.
Foroyaa will be presenting the statements and views of representatives
of trade unions in the Gambia as part of their commemoration of
Workers Day 2015.
In this edition, we will be presenting the statement delivered by Mr.
Ousman Drammeh, on behalf of the Gambia Labour Congress and its
affiliates in commemoration of May Day 2015.
BISIMILAHI  RAHMANI  RAHEEMI
Honourable Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment,
other ministers and members of diplomatic corps present, managing
directors and heads of departments, special mention to our own
Commissioner of Labour, distinguished invitees, fellow brothers and
sisters, members of the labour movement and dear workers,It is with great pleasure, honor and privilege that I am chosen to
deliver this speech on behalf of members of the Gambia Labour
Congress at this very significant and internationally renowned  event,
lnternational Labour Day.

I salute you  all  and  more  specially  the  Hon Minister of  Trade,
Regional Integration  and  Employment  Mr. Abdou  Jobe.
Let me first take this opportunity to congratulate Gambia’s number 1
worker, HE Professor Dr. Alhajie  Yaya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of the
Republic of The Gambia who leads  by the brightness of examples for us
in the Gambia and the World. The Gambia Labour Congress and its
international labour partners recognise his moral concern for the
welfare of the people of the Gambia and have expressed satisfaction on
his initiatives as positive in building a stable economy for the
Gambia.

Before going further, let us remind ourselves the reason why we are
all gathered here today. We are here today to celebrate International
Labour Day or May Day.

May Day is celebrated on  the world level to commemorate the  4th May
1886 Haymarket Massacre of workers in Chicago  during a workers
strike. This day was officially recognised by the ILO in 1891 as a day
for workers to hold rallies and  demonstrations to commemorate the
event as well as promote social and economic achievements as well as
the working class rights.

We, in the labour movements, have always been working amicably with
government to maintain industrial peace so as to promote economic
growth.

Organized workers are indispensable to government’s efforts to build a
viable economy and that is why we in the labour movement have always
worked closely with government in order to maintain industrial
tranquility and peace. Workers and the Trade Unions are at the heart
of our economy as it is the workers that provide food, build
facilities and deliver services.

We, Workers will always strive for the attainment of high living
standards and we dispel the idea that change should come from
government alone while we wait passively for delivery.

In The Gambia today, over 55% of the population are women and youths.
Unemployment is on the rise, even though I don’t have the statistics,
hence causing a lot of our young people to go abroad through the back
way.

It is therefore important that the Government explores ways of
enhancing job creation and that the Private Sector should also be
involved in finding a path for sustainable job creation.

President Jammeh’s immutable steadfastness in pursuing a policy of
‘Grow what we eat and eat what we grow’ has rebounded an all quarters
of the continent and many leaders  today are following suit. Thank
you, Mr. President for your foresight. You can count on our support.
I do not intend to make a long speech as this is a rather impromptu
statement delivered with a very short notice.
However, as it is customary on this day for workers to make
resolutions and raise issues with Government and employers on issues
affecting the worker, we in the Gambia Labour Congress wish to  submit
the following:

1. Inflation has been on the rise due to the global economic crises
and so like in other countries affected the living standards of the
Gambian people. Prices are sky rocketing and causing hardship in some
families. Therefore, for this reason, we re-echo our earlier call for
a General Salary review in both the Public and Private sectors.

2. In order to make full use of our membership in the ILO, we
encourage government to make good of our financial obligations so that
we can benefit more from the rights and privileges that members do
benefit from.

3. The Gambia Decent Work Country Programme is still not been
finalized for Government adoption. We kindly request the Ministry of
Trade, Regional Integration and Employment to facilitate and in
Collaboration with ILO for the completion of this Programme.

4.  We also call on the Ministry of Trade, Regional Integration and
Employment to encourage workers participation in tripartite
conferences organised by AU Labour and Social Commission and the
ECOWAS.

5. Drivers lives are equally very important as that of the passengers
they carry. Therefore we call for all Vehicles insurance to cover
drivers.

6. We call for all drivers to be fully contributing to the Provident
Fund from their employers so that at retirement they can benefit from
pension.

7.  We call for the inclusion of the trade union representative in the
Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation (SSHFC) as the
representative of workers.

8. We also want to have a representative in the KMC Traffic Tribunal as well.

9.  Because to the delays in cases at the industrial tribunals, we
recommend that lawyers should not be encouraged to take part in this
tribunal.
10. We cannot end without mentioning an issue that we in the Labour
Movement are desirous to see and that is the creation of the Ministry
of Labour. We believe that the Ministry of Trade should be relieved of
this responsibility.

11. Finally, we call on our Brothers and Sisters in the other Centres
to come together and create a united labour platform based on the ILO
formula so as to be a meaningful and respectable partner to
government.
Remember in unity lies our strength. United we stand divided we fall.
Long live workers solidarity
God bless THE GAMBIA
GAMBIA LABOUR CONGRESS
BANJUL
May, l5 2015.