By Tabora Bojang
The outgoing chairperson of the MRC workers union Lamin Bojang has called on the government to put in place national legislations that will protect the employment rights and employment security of persons working for international organisations over periods of time.
Speaking at the biannual congress of the MRC workers union held in Fajara, Bakau, Bojang, a senior Data Manager at the MRC, said it is their constitutional right as employees to have trade unions in order to regulate relations between workers and employers.
He said this will help shun discrimination, unfair labour practices and eventually protect employee welfare.
“We want national laws that will protect people who are working for international organisations to be able to protect their employment rights over a period of time. In the WHO serving five years continuous service you eventually becomes a permanent staff and I also understands that with the EU laws, if you work for any EU organisation after four years of continuous service without any problem you become a permanent staff. These are the kinds of things we want for people after serving twenty or thirty years not to be working as contract workers but to have permanent employment status,” Bojang said.
Mr Bojang said the availability of such legislations as national laws in the Gambia will make it much easier for employees to fight for their employment rights and job securities, adding that as trade unionists they are determined to deliver industrial justice, improved welfare and health-care of workers which the MRC has strongly and collectively worked to improve.
“The effective participation of trade unions in national policy formulations has been limited mainly as a result of fragmentation of unions and capacity problems within the union’s managements.
“We need civic education for people to understand that unionism is not related to radicalism as people take it to be. We have seen a lot of employers in this country who have employees that are least happy in terms of wages, working conditions and others and all they do is to engage in side-talks because they don’t have unions to be empower themselves.
So, we need unions to empower these people because once you talked about unionism people try to see it in a negative perspective but unions can be so powerful that they can easily influence certain changes in national laws and this is what we need,” he stated.