Workers abandon construction of National Emergency Treatment Center due to low Salary

Hundreds of the workers at the construction site of the National Emergency Treatment Center in Farato have abandoned work at the site due to low salary offers compared to other companies.

This reporter had an interview with some of the workers who left the work due to the low pay.

One of the supervisors identified as Mr Jallow, who is working under one of the companies subcontracted by Shapoorju Pallonji the main contractor of the project, said he has 150 workers and all of them left the job because of the low salary the project is offering.

According to him, the money they offer to the workers is very low considering the country’s economic hardship.

“Here they pay a labourer D200 per day and skilled men D300 per day. Looking at the economic situation of this country and how things are increasing in the market, such low wages are not enough to take care of our daily feeding and our families. Imagine a plate of food is costing 50 dalasis plus their transport fares to come to work every day, so what is left is D100 dalasi which is not even enough for breakfast talkless of fish money. And if you lodge the complaint to the management they always respond that this is what they can pay so some have no choice but to leave and go to another place to work,” he explained.  

He disclosed that there is a company at Jamburr that is taking most of their men because they are paying good. “Most of the time government officials come here to look at the work but none of them have never asked us how much we have been paid or if we are well taken care of.”

He observed that most of the Gambian youth refused to work here due to the small salary, adding that not up to 20 youth are working there.

“We start work from 8 am to 5 pm and for overtime. They pay skilled men 37 dalasi per hour and laborers D25 per hour for overtime here and which is very small,” he noted.

Alagie Bah, a Gambian, Assan Touray, a Guinean and one Muhammed, a Sierra Leonean, all expressed similar sentiments and further decried the poor working conditions.

Background of the project

The Government of Gambia has developed a National Plan for Preparedness and Response to COVID-19. The COVID-19 Plan focuses on scaling up and strengthening all aspects of preparedness and response, including coordination, surveillance, case management, communication, and social, psychosocial mobilization, as well as logistics and safety.
The development of a National Laboratory of Reference and an Emergency Treatment Center, with a capacity for 84 observation beds and 20 isolated critical beds, has been prioritized. Construction and design are financed by the World Bank. IDOM has been responsible for the design of the project and the contract which has been carried out by Shapoorji Pallonji.

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