Brother Francis Small the founder of The Gambia Labour Union and other leaders such as Mr Babou Kebbeh , M M Ceesay and M E Jallow.
Unfortunately this year’s celebration falls in a pathetic period when the world is confronted with the deadliest Virus, COVID-19 that has waged a war against humanity.
Before going further we should like to pay condolence to the family of our Honorary President Alh Ebrima Mbye who passed away last Wednesday. We also like to extend our condolence to those families that lost their love ones as a result of the CoronaVirus Pandemic. This virus is here to destroy decades of human achievements. We are besieged with adverse social and economic condition brought about by Covid19.
It will be recalled that The Gambia Government has passed a State of Public Emergency Order for the containment of this infectious virus by issuing various guide lines for the protection of the population.
We have to recognised however that The impact of CoVID 19 goes beyond our country and it has a global impact. Recently the IMF updates it global growth projection indicating that the global economy is expected to experience the worst recession since the Great Depression and developing countries like The Gambia are expected to suffer most. Such crisis brought about by this monster Virus is expected to hit the working class in the low and middle income bracket and those in the Informal Sector who have limited voices and inadequate social protection. There will be massive loses of jobs of migrant workers which all will have knock effect in the wellbeing of the families that depend on remittance from families aboard.
It is feared that the consequence of Pandemic Covid19 has far reaching effect that may lead to reversal of decades of progress in the fight against poverty and will inevitably effect the 2020 Agenda for sustainable development.
GamTUB is aware and support the efforts that Government is exerting to contain the spread of Covid19. Undoubtedly the measures in the Public Emergency Order have some serious socio economic impact in the lives of the workers and their families. Many workers have been out of Employment and or have lost their means of earning such as the Hotel and Restaurant Workers.
The informal workers are enduring heard hip in their activities, the Transport sub sector especially the Commercial Passenger is encountering serious difficulties because of the limit of capacity ,some vehicle owners have parked their Vehicles as a result of the Border Closure!the Horticultural Workers have been laid off even the shoe Shinner is suffering as a result.
Therefore Government should do its entire can to ensure that the people of this country do not suffer as they obey the call Stay at Home. This Government should develop a stimulus Package as form of compensation for the loses in the work place and Commercial sector.
We ask Government to involve the Unions to bring about awareness on the containment of COVID-19 thereby reaching all corners of the Country. Government must endeavour Provide PPE for all workers provide Masks for their families, sanitizers at all levels in the villages including Garages,and regularly spray market and public places, etc,etc.
May Day is the day to salute the hard work and dedication of strong willed should around us. Workers deserve more than a single celebration a year as there is no day in which they do not give their best.
We all work hard to earn a living, to move ahead and be able to give our families all they need. We hope that our Employers recognises the hard work we do everyday and that we are valued.Therefore it is important that we remain organised and United for the protection of our rights.
All the more reason why following the successful over throws of the dictator (Yahya Jammeh) under the slogan #GAMBIA HAS DECIDED,Trade union leaders under the new dispensation of freedom decided z to creat The Gambia Trade Union Bureau (GamTUB)with a view of organising and uniting all Trade Union Movement under one banner that will work with the New Government under a atmosphere of Transparency ,Accountability and Participatory for an all inclusive participation in National development in the interest and wel being of the working class movement. GamTUB has since been able and will continue to mobilise and provide many workers education programmes for the Unions in collaboration with the ILO, Solidarity Center, and UNISON.
We are proud that GamTUB and its affiliates have been able to work with Government on many issues in clouding the The Review of the Employment. Policy, The Review of the 2007 Labour Act, formulation of a Trade Union Bill, ILO Reporting Seminar, The Constitutional Review exercise amongst others.
While we congratulate the Government for its efforts to contain Covid19 we ask them not to loose the plight of the workers and their families.
We want to seize this occasion as always to call of the Government to:
Conduct a thorough National Wage/Salary Review.
Work hard to create avenues of job opportunities for the Youth and Women
Ratify the ILO convention on Minimum Wage
Ratify Convention 190 Gender Base Violence and Harassment in the World of Work.
Create a National Social Dialogue Forum for effective consultations by Government with social partners in all matters of National Development.
Finally we ask all and sundry to respect the Public Emergency Order,abide by the W H O Guide lines , STAY AT HOME and together we well defeat Covid19.
Long live workers Solidarity, long live the Republic of The Gambia.
Kebba Masaneh Ceesay
Gambia Trade Union Bureau
Trade Union House