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Gambia Labour Congress

May 3, 2016, 12:06 PM

The Gambia Labour Congress salutes all workers and Employers worldwide on the occasion of the 2016 May Day commemoration. As we celebrate this historic day we take the opportunity to pay tribute to to the workers who in 1886 sacrificed their lives at the Hay Market in Chicago, in defence of the rights of workers. We pray for the dead and will continue to fight for the living.

Generally this day is marked by manifestations including Rallies, festivities and submitting of Workers Resolutions to Government Authorities as well as show of solidarity to workers suffering from exploitation.

We firs t of all wish to congratulate The Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Trade,Regional Integration and Employment for the recently adopted Decent Work Country Programme(DWCP)for The Gambia to which as workers organisation we are totally committed. Without decent jobs many of our potential young people will be underutilised and a whole generation risk being scared and discouraged by unemployment and or under employment. We hope that Unions will recognised their role in this programme as action to promote decent jobs for all is a central to building a better Gambia.

We are sadden by the exodus of young people through the ‘BackWay’.This could have been avoided had our 400 years colonial mastersnot under developed us without paying reparation for exploiting our resources .All the more the reason why unless immediate and vigorous action is taken the Gambian Community confronts the grim of a lost generation.

Today as we reflect on decent jobs urgent and targeted action is required to reach the hundreds of thousands of people under extreme poverty struggling for survival in the Informal Sector.

As workers organisation we are committed to complimenting Governments efforts in the socio economic development of The Gambia. However we cannot do so effectively under the present conditions with the present multiplicity of Unions (over 40 unions is this small labour Force) and without a collective platform. Hence unions are neither ableto influence the decision making process nor able to confront the challenges that faces the workingclass.The dynamism hitherto characterised by Gambian trades Unionism in the 60s have completely disappearedbecause of lackof STRONG UNIONS. Addressing a crowd of people 90% of whom are not unionised and reading Resolutions which are detached from reality does not make us Strong in fact it is a mockery. In other countries the show on May Day is exclusively that of the workers organisations.Unfortunately even for the sporting events Workers Union Does not fill in a Team.

We acknowledge the fact that there is continuously and relatively Industrial Peace in The Gambia brought about by tripartite dialogue encouraged by Government.

However May Day message is never complete without calls for better working conditions and the following constitute our Resolution. Our first demand is directed to Union Leaders.

1. We call on Union Leaders to accept the need for strong Unions under a well represented Platform which can work with Government as a sole representative of the Working Class.In this vain we ask all concern to cooperate and take part in the recently created Trade Union Committee under the context of New Era of Trade Unionism which was the Workers slogan in 2015 May Day .an initiative supported by ILO.ATRAV, the OATUU as well as ITUC.

2. We acknowledge that efforts have been made in the past to breach the wage gap between the middle and upper class workers, but with the recent rise in the cost living there is absolute need for a call for Review of salaries in both the private and public sector. Ourcall is based on statistics relating to the rise of the basic commodities since 2004 to wit;

- Cost of a Bag of rice is up by 192.20%

- Cost of oil is up by 129%

- Cost of fish is up by 63%

- Cost meat is up by 115%

- Transport is up by 93%

- Health fees is up by 33%

- Electricity is up by 93%

These are basic commodities that affect the ordinary middle working class workers and their families in both the public and private sector.

Subject to confirmation, reviewed weighted CPI may put inflation up to 20-25%.Thus a Review of Salaries cannot come at a better time.

3. We renew our call for Government to try and make good of its obligations with the ILO.

4. We call on workers of all Trades to join the Labour Unions when the Industrial Unions are formed as their welfare is the prime responsibility of the Unions.

We seize this opportunity to congratulate the members (Drivers and stake holders) of The Gambia Transport, Agriculture Food and Industrial Workers Union the recently successfully concluded Congress. We trust the Transport will be galvanised and solidified as the sole representative of the Transport sub-sector. In our drive to provide training for the members of the Congress, two leaders of affiliated Unions (The Gambia Labour Union and The Gambia Horticultural and General Workers Union) are currently attending a Course at the Kwame Nkrumah Labour College in Accra, Ghana, under the sponsorship of the OATUU and the ILO-ATRAV on the theme, Transformation of the informal Economy to the Formal Economy.

Finally we are celebrating 1st of May to day but the real Workers Day is the day when all workers are liberated from exploitation, attain a decent living standards thereby being

Partners instead of Wage Workers.

Long Live Workers Solidarity

Long Live President Jammeh (number one worker)

Long Live the Islamic Republic of The Gambia.