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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Workers union demands natural resources be mined by Gambians

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By Lamin Cham

The Gambia Workers and Trade Union Congress marked Labour Day on Sunday under the theme “decent work and social justice”.

It called for the promotion and investment of human and social capital so that Gambians can be the ones to mine the natural resources of the country and not foreigners.

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“Instead of giving away our natural resources such as marine, land, forest and the black sand mining to Chinese and Europeans who are over exploiting them, we need to invest in our human and capital resources to enable Gambians to be the primary actors in this sector,” the union stated in a long list of recommendations seen by The Standard.

The workers union further demanded that an agricultural investment bank be established to boost production and revenue and maximise foreign exchange earnings.

The union is also concern about the sky- rocketing rent costs that is increasingly becoming unbearable for workers who must feed and accommodate their family from the very small earnings.

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“The 2014 rent provides that landlords must not be allowed to increase rent without consulting the Area Councils and they must not demand more than two months advance. We therefore urge government to regulate this sector to end the unbearable suffering of the workers,” Union leader Ebrima Garba Cham stressed on Sunday while delivering the statement to the Minster of works.

He also revisited the issue of social security arguing that the SSHFC’s mandate is for the social protection of workers, through adequate compensations, the provision of shelter, sickness or old age benefits among other things. The union said proceeds of the corporation’s investment in hotels, petroleum and treasury bills must be published and accountable to the public to ensure transparency and probity.

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