Workers Day: Let’s address the economic issues

Thursday, April 30, 2015
Tomorrow, May 1, is International Workers Day also known as Labour Day or May Day.It is a day set aside to celebrate the social and economic achievements of the international labour movement across the globe.

Here in The Gambia, the day is usually commemorated in the form of a sports jamboree, preceded by delivery of speeches by officials of the government and workers confederation.

Labour Day is a time to celebrate the role of workers in the economy and address the real economic issues of our time.

The day is more than a well-deserved day off.It is a time to celebrate the important contributions working people make to our economy. It is also a good time to reflect on what is needed to improve the economic and social well-being for all workers.

Working people, whether in the formal or informal sectors, are the engine of the economy. The work they do, the services they provide and the money they spend drive the economy.

However, of recent years, the downward pressure on wages is resulting in more and more families struggling to make ends meet.

According to the result of the Integrated Household Survey, more than 40 per cent of those who are employed live below the poverty line of $1.25 per day.

This statistic is alarming.No wonder our economy is experiencing such slow growth.The need for substantial salary increment is evident today more than ever before.

If workers are not earning to pull themselves and their families out of poverty, how do they save for tomorrow, their retirement?

Workers need a retirement to provide for economic security after a lifetime of work.But without adequate incomes today this will be very difficult or impossible tomorrow.How does one save more for a retirement at a time real wages are declining?

The economy needs a facelift, and workers’ salaries need to rise for them to have appreciable disposable incomes and resources to maintain a good living and health conditions.

As we celebrate Labour Day this year, let’s really celebrate the contribution of working people by continuing to press for economic growth to drive the economy through higher wages, and ensure all Gambians can retire in dignity and with hope for a better life in the future.

We need to press for economic change to reverse growing income inequality.

“There’s no way I can justify my salary level, but I’m learning to live with it”

Drew Carey