Gambian Workers Celebrate May-Day

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 By Amadou Manjang

The workers of the Gambia celebrated May-Day at the McCarthy Square in Banjul on Wednesday, 1st May, 2024. 

May-day is devoted to recognize the critical role of workers and the centrality of labour in national development.

The celebration was marked by sport activities by different Institutions and Departments in the country.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration and Employment, Baboucarr Osmaila Joof, said the government has reaffirmed their commitment to meaningful job creation and economic transformation.

This year’s theme is ‘Accelerating job creation for economic growth.’

According to Joof, this year’s theme is a clarion call to action that resonates deeply with the aspirations set in the National Development Plan 2023 – 2027

‘Which seeks to propel The Gambia towards a brighter future by leading it out of the shadows of past challenges towards sustainable and inclusive growth.’

He added the Government is dedicated to transforming the economy to generate opportunities that will uplift the citizens through enhanced employment prospects.

“This transformation is particularly focused on industries such as agriculture, fisheries, and tourism, which are vital for The Gambia’s economic diversification and industrial advancement.’

He said it is imperative to transition labour from less productive sectors to those that are more dynamic and technologically advanced.

He added that it is relevant to foster a labour market that is innovative and responsive to the needs of a rapidly evolving global economy.

‘Our approach includes creating an enabling environment where the private sector can thrive, acknowledging that while the government plays a crucial role in job creation, it is through public-private partnerships and a robust, supportive legislative framework that sustainable employment is most effectively generated,’ he said.

The Trade Minister further stated that the Gambian workforce needs to be equipped with skills required to excel in high-productivity sectors.

He said there is need to ensure that technological progress translates into higher economic output and better-quality jobs.

Minister Joof explained that his ministry is committed to ensuring workplace safety which is fundamental to worker productivity and well-being.

‘Strengthening the enforcement of existing health and safety legislation is a priority for my ministry, ensuring that both employers and employees are aware of and adhere to the highest standards of workplace safety,’ he added.

The Secretary General of The Gambia National Trade Union Congress (GNTU), Ebrima Garba Cham, said there is need for a minimum wage which is long overdue, but added that it is never late to address the high cost of living.

He added that there is need for workers’ interest to be protected and promoted in The Gambia.

He further said the government needs to step in and manage inflation caused by ‘corporate greed’.

‘The Trade union congress is very much concerned with our economy which remains confusing and depressing. Inflation, unemployment, poverty hike, inequality and other key socio-economic variables worsening making very few to meet the basic necessities of life,’ he said.

He added that the Gambia needs to capacities its building of a self-reliant economy and produce what we consume.

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