LABOUR OFFICER TESTIFIES IN 30 FORMER CAPITAL GAS WORKERS CASE

Muhammad Bah

Mr. Abdoulie Saidy who is a Labour officer working under the Labour Department on Wednesday 16th July , 2014 gave his testimony in a civil case involving 30 former Capital Gas workers. These workers are appearing before the Kanfing Industrial tribunal alleging the wrongful termination of their employment by Tony Daniel Drago, the proprietor of Capital Gas.

In his examination by Mr Garba Cham, the Secretary General of the Gambia Workers Union, the witness, Mr Saidy, told the tribunal he was aware of the case when the Gambia Workers Union reported it at his office, the Labour Department, complaining the wrongful termination of some Capital Gas Workers, among other complaints. He said the complaints forwarded include overtime work, workers not taking their annual leave and non payment of their social security. But he said he told the plaintiffs (the sacked workers) that some of the complaints were not within the jurisdiction of the Labour Department.

He recalled that he called a tripartite meeting on 14th November 2014 in his office to settle the matter, but that the parties failed to agree to the terms he proposed, each insisting on its position.

He told the Tribunal that Capital Gas Company argued that not all the complainants are their employees.

The Labour officer said he thereafter advised the Union and the complainants to take the matter to the tribunal as the meeting did not produce results. At the end of the examination in chief, the defence declined to cross-examine the witness.

The 19th plaintiff Mr. Sherriff Cham now testified, led by Mr. Ebrima Garba Cham, the Secretary General of the Gambia Workers Union. He said that he worked as a Welder at the company. He told the tribunal that his job was terminated in the month of October 2013.

He informed the tribunal Chaired by Mr Ousman Jabang that he is claiming for his rights which were not granted to him during his time at Capital Gas. He told the tribunal he is claiming for 208 hours over time, 83 days of annual leave, adding that he received pay slips only in 2013.

Closing his testimony, he told the tribunal his service was unlawfully terminated because it does not accord with the Laws of the Gambia.

At this stage, the case was adjourned till 30 July 2014.