By Juliana Twumwaa Obeng
Happy May Day Gambia!
It’s that time of the year again when we come together to celebrate our hardworking and vibrant labour force. It’s a day to remember the struggles and achievements of workers throughout history and to appreciate the contributions of our own workers to our country’s development.
We’re a hardworking bunch! From the farmers tilling the land to the teachers educating our children to the entrepreneurs building businesses from scratch, and to the civil servants keeping the government running smoothly – we all play a vital role in making The Gambia the great country that it is.
And what better day to celebrate our labour force than May Day? It’s a day that has been recognized globally by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) since 1891, and it’s a day that reminds us of the importance of workers’ rights and social justice.
But hey, let’s not be too serious on this day. Let’s also have some fun! Did you know that May Day has some weird traditions in some parts of the world? For example, in Finland, people celebrate May Day by drinking Sima, a sweet, fermented drink made of lemons, sugar, and yeast. And in Germany, they put up a tall, decorated tree called a Maypole, and dance around it while drinking beer. Now, that’s a party!
But seriously, let’s not forget the struggles that our labour force has faced and the achievements they have made. The Gambia has come a long way in improving workers’ rights and protections. We have a new labour law that provides for minimum wage, overtime pay, and paid leave, among other things. We have made progress in improving working conditions in various industries, including agriculture, health care, and tourism.
However, there’s still more work to be done. We need to continue advocating for better wages, safer working conditions, and job security for our workers. We need to empower our labour unions to represent workers’ interests effectively, and we need to foster a culture of respect for workers and their contributions.
Let us use this May Day to appreciate our labour force and to renew our commitment to improving workers’ rights and protections in The Gambia. Let’s celebrate with parades, speeches, and cultural events, but let’s also have some fun while we’re at it. Who knows, maybe next year we can put up a Maypole and dance around it while drinking our own Sima!
As we celebrate May Day in The Gambia, let’s not forget the value of our labour force. Our workers are the backbone of our economy and the key to our future growth and prosperity. We should appreciate their contributions and recognize their struggles, as we work together to create a better tomorrow for all.
To achieve this goal, we need to continue to prioritize workers’ rights and protections. This includes improving working conditions, providing fair wages and benefits, and ensuring job security. We should also support our labour unions and give them a voice in shaping policies that affect workers.
Happy May Day!
The writer is a BL candidate at the Gambia Law School. She is driven by her affinity to the legal profession and relies on Precedents and Acts of the National Assembly to educate the public on bits and pieces of the application of the Laws of the Gambia and Ethics of the legal profession. These write-ups are for educational purposes only and not to serve as a substitute for Legal Advice. Email: [email protected]