By: Kebba AF Touray
Members of the National Assembly of the Gambia, on Monday, June 12 passed the Bill entitled ‘Labour Bill, 2023’. The bill, among other issues, aims to ensure occupational health and safety at workplaces, after a review of the 2007 Labour Act, due to numerous loopholes and unclear provisions that have been identified in the Act.
The 2007 Labour Act was most importantly reviewed to promote decent work, social dialogue and employment, as well as bringing it in conformity with other existing laws of the country and to also take into consideration, recommendations from international partners, employers and trade union organisations.
Some of the issues covered in the Bill are the duties and functions of the Commissioner of Labour and the licensing and operations of private employment agencies. The Bill was introduced in parliament on 13 December 2022, and the Members of the Assembly debated on the general merits and principles of the new bill and committed it to the select committee of the Assembly on Trade.
After its committal, the committee conducted consultations with stakeholders on the bill, with a view to generating the views of those stakeholders on the bill.
During the consultation on the bill, it was highlighted that the current Act is silent on important issues such as the expatriate quota system, domestic servants’ unionism and workplace requirements. Some of the Clauses recommended by the Committee are parts of the bill that include but are not limited to Clauses 2 and 3 in part one of the bill; Clauses 27 and 31 (d) in part five of the expatriate quota allocation board, and Clauses 8 and 17 in part two of the bill. The Committee tabled its report on the bill before lawmakers, which was also debated by the plenary and at the conclusion of the debate, legislators adopted the report on the 13th of March 2023.
During its sitting of Monday, 12 June 2023, Members of the National Assembly conducted the consideration of the Bill. After a marathon consideration, the bill was subsequently passed by parliamentarians as it awaits the president to ascent it.