The Gambia Transport Union has threatened to go on a new sit-down strike if the government of The Gambia fails to meet up to their demands and expectations comes September 13th.
The disgruntle van, taxi, and truck drivers from across the regions of The Gambia on Tuesday gathered at their main headquarters to brief the press on their “sorry state of affairs and challenges” they encounter.
The drivers’ demands range from building standard car parks to requesting the government reduce the levy on truck vehicles that plight the Senegambia Bridge. The drivers also want the government to approve their demands to increase transport fares in urban and interurban transports and the public administration to solve the recurrent problem of “Laissez-Passer” that Gambian drivers are paying for to enter the Senegalese territory, among other demands.
It is not the first commercial drivers’ corporate action to have been embarking on a sit-down. According to the drivers’ executive, relevant government authorities and stakeholders have been notified with letters to trigger a dialogue over their increasing demands.
But Omar Ceesay, the Union’s President, said to his association’s utter dismay, their calls have been thrown under carpets.
“We are victims of the nature of the transport sector in the Gambia. We are all suffering from the burden. We feel that it’s high time we all look into how we can resolve the situation. We have attended series of committee meetings, workshops, and discussions. But implementation is always the problem. We are not moving an inch. If we don’t regulate and develop our transport sector and privatize it, then it would be difficult for the country to move,” Omar Ceesay explained.
The transport union leader pledged to stand by the welfare of his drivers in tackling the challenges hindering the transport sector. Prior to formulating their plight, drivers affiliated with the union toured all their membership hotspots countrywide to seek their adherence to the plan of action they intend to implement for their welfare.
“Our mandate is to promote the interest of the drivers, and in doing so, we will take any necessary steps to address their plight despite anyone coming in our way. We are noticing the government that on the 13th of September, if our demands are not met, we will embark on a sit-down strike until the authorities meet our demands. That’s why we’ve involved all the regions because we are tired and want our demands to be fulfilled,” he said
The ECOWAS protocol on the free movement of persons, residence, and establishment was established, which granted ECOWAS citizens the right to free entry and exit within an ECOWAS state for a maximum of 90days in which The Gambia is a member state.
A key objective is to remove obstacles affecting the protocol on the free movement of persons, residence, and establishments in the sub-region.
According to Omar Ceesay, the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Person’s and residence is not ‘respected’ and adhere to in The Gambia by foreign motorists to the detriment of the Gambian drivers.