The Gambia Trade Union Bureau has blamed government for its perennial absence at the International Labour Organisation conference.
A letter from the Bureau, signed by its chairman Kebba Masaneh Ceesay, said GAMTUB has failed to attend a statutory assembly of ILO for the past decade.
He said this year, too, government said there is no budget for the tripartite delegation.
“The constitution of ILO stipulates amongst others that it will hold an annual conference to discuss the plight of the workers, employers and the responsibility of governments in assuring stakeholders that they enjoy decent living and that there is respect for the laws. In this way, conventions and recommendations are discussed and adopted. After these conventions have been adopted by the General Assembly, they are sent to member countries for ratification and there after the member state is obliged to domesticate the provisions of those conventions in their national laws. Therefore, to be part of the discussion and in promulgating these laws which are bound to affect the people of one’s country is the responsibility of the government by facilitating presence at every annual general assembly of the ILO, as it is for UN and ECOWAS,” Mr Ceesay.
He added: “The Gambia as a member of the ILO and have been benefiting from technical assistance programmes provided by this organization but it is regrettable that for the past 10 years, Gambia has NOT been attending this statutory meeting which is the largest gathering where governments, employers and workers meet to discuss the social wellbeing of the workers and make convention to protect and safeguard the rights of the working class and social protection. During the 2nd Republic, efforts were made to send a tripartite representation to the assembly after ILO rejected the incomplete tripartite govt delegation. However, for the past 10 years Gambia was nowhere to be seen at the ILO, though we were prominent at the ECOWAS, UN, AU and other sub-regional organization meetings. Recently, a landmark convention on harassment at workplaces was adopted, following Convemntion 189 for domestic workers. Gambia will certainly be required to ratify this convention which we strongly recommend but how much do we know about this convention, if we are to domesticate it in the laws of The Gambia? This year, some very important discussions would take place on certain provisions of the ILO Constitution and new conventions will be taking place. Gambia has some queries to answer and or defend at this year’s Conference but unfortunately, there is no budget for a Gambian tripartite delegation to the ILO. At the last minute, it was learnt that the notice was short but convocation to annual conferences is sent around March each year.”
Mr Ceesay appealed to President Barrow to prioritise the plight of workers.