The leader of the Gambia Workers Union, Ebrima Garba Cham, has on Tuesday criticized the ‘unforgivable’ working conditions of worker in the country and the low wages they earn.
Cham, who was addressing a crowd of workers and employers including senior government officials at the Independence Stadium, said an average Gambian worker is paid an amount that is insufficient to put food on their table.
“The salary of an average Gambian worker is not enough for putting food on the table… That is how grave the situation is,” Cham told journalists.
“There are pensioners who are paid D100 (little over $2) a month… That is why pensioners wait for months to go and collect their monthly pension funds.”
Gambia does not have a minimum wage and the Government pays the least salaries with some in state institutions earning as low as D1000 ($25)
It was only about two months ago that the Government increase the travel allowances of state employees.
“We are negotiating better working conditions, improved pensions pay and better salaries,” Cham said.
Exploitation of worker in the form of low wages and poor working conditions is widespread in even the private sector, Cham said.
Meanwhile, the trade and employment minister Isatou Touray said the Government is aware of the challenges employees face in the country
“We are in a new dispensation where everyone can express their desires about their conditions… There should be a radical shift from the past. The workers should know their rights so that they could protect their interest from exploitation,” Touray said.
“It is only with time that most of the workers’ demands will be solved and we are sensitive to their plight… We will address their challenges together.”
By Mustapha K Darboe