‘Gov’t salary raise did little to improve pensioners’ take-home’

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By Mustapha Darboe

Gambian workers have demanded an improvement on the pay of country’s low-income earners and pensioners whose conditions are barely changed by the 50% salary.
By the beginning of 2019, Gambia Government has announced 50% salary raise for civil and public servants.

Though this was a welcomed development, many critics however said the raise did little for Government workers who are at grade 1 earning about D1800 or less.
“The recent increment in salaries and pensions is welcomed and applauded. However, cognizant of the high cost of living in the country, the increase for pensioners and low income earners does not commensurate with minimum standards of living in the country,” said Ebrima Garba Cham, secretary general of Gambia Workers Union,
“Government is therefore urged to set up a salary review commission to revisit and still adjust the increments upwards for pensioners and low-income earners.”

The Workers’ Day in Gambia is celebrated as a sports event where employers and employees converged at the Independence Stadium for various sporting activities.
Critics said the Workers’ Day is meant for employees to articulate their problems to employers for improved working condition.
Organisers said the sporting event present a platform for both workers and employers to discuss their challenges and find mutual solution.

Meanwhile, as part of their resolution to Government, Cham also urged for the creation of a taskforce that will constantly monitor the implementation of general terms and conditions of employment at work places with view to addressing emerging problems between workers and employers.
He said the industrial tribunal is ineffective in addressing dispute between workers and employers on time.
Also part of their resolution is for Government to reduce the “exorbitant” tax on domestic produce.

“Government is urged to revisit the new tariff and reverse to 25% tax and 15% vat to help alleviate suffering in some quarters,” said Cham.
“To ensure positive contribution towards creating employment and foreign exchange earnings and to boost growth in GDP, registration of fishing companies must be on condition that they own at least a fishing trawler and to discharge catches in the country for local consumption and export,” added Cham.
Other speakers at the opening of the day-long event are the trade minister Lamin Jobe and youths and sports minister Hadrammeh Sidibeh.