The leadership of the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) and other stakeholders like the Gambia Dock Workers Union met on Monday 23 August at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center to validate a national roadmap for the creation of a dockers’ company.
The document, when completed and implemented, will make dockworkers a subsidiary stand-alone service provider.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mod Ceesay, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Works and Infrastructure, said the roadmap document is important because it will establish a subsidiary institution for dockers, all like the ferry service.
Ceesay said that due to the importance of the roadmap, study tours have been made to various locations including Ghana where a consultation with a consultancy firm (Benom Consult) has been carried out. He said the Ghanaian company set up the company in Ghana which it intended for The Gambia.
Ceesay said that after identifying the company’s potential, it was “hired and hired” to help GPA management develop a strategy to achieve the goal of creating a “dockers business”. He encouraged participants to carefully review the document, which he described as âa vital service provider for themâ. He also assured the workers of his ministry’s support in drawing up a national roadmap establishing the dockers’ company.
The president of the dockers’ union, Lamballa Saho, recalled similar convergences made in 2002, 2007 and 2008 for the development of the same roadmap, but without progress.
Saho has planned that this validation will be followed by a full production of an implementation roadmap, which consultant Ben Owusu Mensah assured will be completed and implemented by January 2022.
Saho also took the opportunity to highlight the stories of his union members’ frustration in their partnership with the GPA, which he said marks the importance of a document that will make them a self-sustaining service provider company. . He called for the implementation of the roadmap which will contain the terms of reference of their company for any partnership. He also stressed the need to avoid “the scenario of the dismissal of approximately two hundred and forty (240) dockworkers in 2017 by the GPA”.
Subsequently, Saho explained that following the dismissal, most of its union members died from stress and frustration.
“Imagine that a man with a family lost his job illegally and was the breadwinner of his family,” said the president of the dockworkers, highlighting the pains and sufferings of a service without a national roadmap.
The consultant, Mr Ben, said his company won the contract in February 2021 and praised the cooperation of the Gambian authorities throughout the formulation process.
Ben described the document as “the end of the long suffering of dockworkers” while mentioning some of the document’s most significant elements during his presentation. He said the document involved conditions, including the company’s board of directors, salaries to be set by themselves among many other values.
The Ghanaian consultant assured that the document, once implemented, will ensure for the first time in the country’s history that dockworkers retire at the age of sixty with retirement benefits like civil servants. He said that workers who would like to retire prematurely for health reasons would also have certain benefits to rest or start a new life elsewhere and that the document also contains the continuation of training of workers to be able to adapt to changing conditions. modern service requests.
Gambia Ports Authority chief executive Ousman Jorbateh said some of the problems with the port work program were due to weaknesses that were not created deliberately, noting that his management had always tried to resolve the issues.
Jobarteh reiterated that âhuman resources are the most important aspect of port servicesâ, so he encouraged participants to effectively share their contributions during validation, as this improves their services.
Responding to the Dockers President about unsuccessful attempts to formulate a national roadmap for dockworkers in 2007, 2008 and 2002, Jorbateh said the recommendations of these consultants gave rise to the document being validated. He implored them to make the document their own as it will increase employment opportunities for them.