By Madi S. Njie
On 10 June 2019 Major Gambian Transport unionists who were divided for over a decade signed a Memorandum of Understanding, based on collective agreements to work together towards achieving common objectives.
Held on Monday at the Gambia Trade Union Bureau (Gamtub), along Jimpex-MDI Road in Kanifing, the agreement has been signed between members of the Transport sub-sector, namely: The Gambia Transport, Agriculture, Food and Industrial Workers Union (GTAFIWU) and The Gambia National Transport Control Association and The Gambia Transport Drivers Union.
“The two unions met on Monday, 27 May 2019 at the Gamtub House to develop a modus operandi with a view to integrate by way of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (M.O.U) that will put in place and revitalise the Transport Sub Sector in order to guarantee an effective operational system. For the purpose of this M.O.U, the Gambia National Transport Control Association will represent the interest of the Transport Drivers’ Union of The Gambia,” said Sulayeman Massaneh Ceesay during a press briefing that brought together stakeholders from various sectors of society, representing Workers unions.
The unionists are with the view that since the transport control association problems has been settled legally, and are ready to work with the union, as their parent body, they should work together and see the interest of The Gambia first.
It could be recalled that The Gambia government acting on information provided by Guinea Bissau Government through their embassy in The Gambia in 2016 imposed banned on the Gambia transport control association under the leadership of Muminy Sey, who was reportedly from Guinea Bissau, groomed by the Union, that he constitutionally overthrew using politics. Mr Sey was said to be native of Guinea Bissau, and due to his dedication to work, was made President of the Transport Control Association Banjul branch. Mr Sey later on bypass the union, and instead claimed to be heading a transport union, using some politicians and members of the security forces, to suppress the parent body, and illegally made himself union leader. The banning led to the formation of another rival union led by Omar Ceesay, commonly known as Bala Gaye, through the influence of the police, among other transport owners, and Truck Drivers. The U-Turn taken to sign MoU therefore is another milestone in the slowly but sure move of the transport unionism in The Gambia.
Reading a two page MoU statement issued as an agreement, Mr Ceesay, the Gamtub Chairman further noted: “That under this M.O.U a Committee comprising of Members drawn from the above unions and or Associations will be formed and charged with the responsibility of organizing all activities of the transport Sub Sector throughout The Gambia and the Sub Region in collaboration with the Government of The Gambia and the international agencies within the frame work of the ECOWAS protocols.
“The committee will be called National Road Transport Control Committee (NRTCC). Agreement consequent to the foregoing Members agreed that: A Committee comprising of 24 members who are parties to this M.O.U will be formed on pro rata basis. The Committee will have a Chairman, Secretary General and Treasurer, amongst others.
“They will be responsible for Coordinating all activities under this agreement and set up various sub Committees; Create conducive environment under which this Memorandum can be executed; Establish and designate Regional Offices and Branches for the management of the day to day activities under this Agreement including activities in all Car parks, Garages and Abuko Trucks Garage; in collaboration with the relevant Authorities regulate the movements and activities of Foreign Vehicles plying in and out of The Gambia; Set up a Queuing System in all Car Parks and garages including Abuko; and that any issue not covered under this M.O.U. will be mutually decided by all parties,” Gamtub Chairman stated.
He further said all persons covered under this MoU will be required to pay for Membership Card.
He said under this MoU all Finances and Assets will be centralised, and an Account will be jointly managed by all parties to the MoU.
He also said the documents such as Manifests and Out Tickets to be used in respect of the activities of the Committee will be decided by all parties affected.
“Since the Legal matter concerning officials on the above Association has been settled by the Law courts, this Committee will be charged with submitting a petition to Government demanding that the Ban imposed on them should be lifted.
Mr Ceesay further said on Formation of Transport Federation, that consideration will be given in future to the formation of a Transport Federation.
Meanwhile, the Agreements were signed by Mr. Mustapha Jobe, President of the Gambia Transport Agriculture Food and Industrial Workers Union and Mr Jarga Faal, President of the Gambia National Transport Control Association.
In their addresses, both Mr Jobe and Mr Faal welcome the move and assured of their resolve to work together towards achieving common good.
Meanwhile, the unionist gathered on 11 June to set up committee, and sources said Omar Touray, President of the GTAFIWU Gunjur Branch was selected to serve as Chairman of the Committee that will serve as implementing organ of the MoU.