13 February 2013

Gambia: Public and Civil Servants On Change of Working Days and Hours

Following the announcement made by the Office of the President regarding the change of working days and hours, Foroyaa is embarking on a Vox Pop by seeking the views of the general public especially the public servants regarding this change.

According to a female civil servant resident in Brusubi, she is really finding it extremely difficult to cope with the new schedule of working days and hours. She belaboured on her difficulty in commuting from Brusubi to Banjul, due to lack of transport. She further posited that she always reaches home at 7.45pm or 9pm making it impossible for her to take care of her domestic chores. She further asserted that she spends more money to feed herself twice at her work place which she said is very expensive. She therefore challenged the authorities to critically analyse this decision and revoke it.

A male public servant and a resident of Tabokoto said, the changed working days and hours is making life very difficult for him, because he is likely to spend forty-five to fifty percent of his meager salary just on transportation and food.. He also added that apart from the exorbitant cost of transportation is exorbitant and the new schedule makes him to reach home late and exhausted. He said that if this continues, in the long run, he would not be able to effectively and efficiently deliver at work. He concluded by appealing to the authorities to review this decision and also increase the salaries of both civil and public servants, because the poor salary is affecting all of them negatively.

One Elizabeth in her late thirties also a public servant said that the change is another burden on the poor workers of the Government be they women or men folk, who do not have enough money to maintain their families. She added that since this decision was implemented, it's definitely affecting them especially the women, who rely heavily on lift to either go to work or return home . She also stated that the change is affecting her family, because she now cooks only once when she arrives at home, because she has no one to do the cooking for her, and she cannot afford to pay for the services of a maid. She further went on to say that the change of working days and hours is not helpful at all and urges the authorities to increase their salaries, because according to her they are spending more than they earn on feeding at work and transportation which she said is driving them into taking loans. She concluded by saying that the authorities should look into this issue again or else they would continue to punish their people.

One Mr. Sainey Saidy, a Resident of New Jeshwang also echoed similar sentiments by saying that this change is not helpful, because it is creating a situation where one spends more than one earns which he said is not good, because they work more than the normal working hours and should be either paid overtime or given a wage rise at least to balance the situation. He also added that both his wife and himself are public servants and this affects their children at home because he said there is nobody at home to take care of their children. He summed up by calling on the authorities to review this policy because it's causing more harm than good. Mr. Sulayman Njai a businessman in his early twenties and a resident of Banjul on his part said he believes the changes are not good for both the business sector and the workers in particular and for him if the workers do not work on Fridays it affects his sales. Because he said they are his main customers. He Further said even though it's to enable the Muslims to attend the Friday prayers without a rush, the reality is that this is not just favourable to anybody. He concluded by urging the people to try and cope with the changes until they are revoked, but he expressed optimism that it will be repealed sooner or later.

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