The Minister for Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment has reiterated the need to solving industrial conflicts by dialogue.
Dr. Isatou Touray told hundreds of workers celebrating May Day at the Independence Stadium in Bakau, about 7 km away from Banjul that “Social dialogue should be the hallmark of our industrial relations.”
Gambians on Tuesday joined the rest of the world to commemorate May Day. Recent industrial actions mounted by resident doctors and teachers hung over this year’s celebration as workers are yet to see the country’s minimum wages laws based on the real cost of living.
In a statement delivered on the occasion of activities marking Labour Day Minister Touray said it is common knowledge that investment – both domestic and foreign – is needed for wealth and employment creation necessary for poverty reduction.
However, she warned the gathering about the fact that employment will not be created on the scale needed if investors perceive that pour labour relations will dim their prospects of generating desired returns.
“Under such circumstances, dialogue and not industrial action, is a primary action for redress,” she emphasised.
She further stated that the consultation should be based on a tripartite approach involving the gouvernment, employers, and workers in order to reach ‘amicable resolution of industrial disputes.’
“Just last week, my Ministry was able to resolve an industrial conflict that has been lingering for many weeks without solution. This happens through effective dialogue between the aggrieved parties,” she revealed.
She said the new political dispensation led by President Adama Barrow is very sensitive and responsive to the current situation the labour masses are facing, adding that it is something they have inherited and want to rectify.
Gambia’s Minister of Youth and Sports Henry Gomez assured workers of government commitment to solving their problems.
“The Gambia we want can only be built by ourselves,” he said.
The Secretary General of the Gambia National Trade Union Congress (GNTUC), Ebrima Garba Cham made it clear that Labour Day célébrations are not only festivities, but provides an opportunity to renew and reaffirm our adherence to the principles upon which the intertional accords and protocals are signed.
“It is to focus attention on the plight and welfare of workers globally,” he pointed out.
GNTUC leader went on to say that conducive work environment goes beyond the demandes for adequate remuneration and ideal working conditions.
“We will respond to emerging issues within the work Industry in the best interest of industrial justice with a view to ensuring that grievances arising therein are addressed amicably through dialogue rather confrontation,” he promised.
Ebrima Garba Cham handed over a resoltion to Dr. Touray, outlining the need to increase salaries, pensions, and transport allowances.
The said resolution called on gov’t to set up a tripartite taskforce to monitor the implementation of General Terms of Conditiond Employment, and that would also deal with emerging problems.
Issues revolving arround cases lying at the industrial tribunals; the reactivation of the Labour Advisory Board; and the integration of worker’s éducation and industrial relations in their terms of reference were also highlighted in the resolution.