Human rights activist, Madi Jobarteh has urged members of the striking public and environmental health officers to stand their grounds, until their demands are met.
He said members of the association have rights that must be defended without compromise.
The rights defender also said the members of the association are “law abiding, patriotic and responsible officers who have the interest of their patients and Gambian citizens at heart”.
Jobarteh’s reaction followed a statement by the Ministry of Health threatening administrative actions such as stoppage of the salary of the striking officers, among others, should they fail to resume today.
“This is not a responsible way to address labour issues.
“The Ministry needs to exercise more maturity and seriousness than seeking to be condescending towards the leaders of this association. To attempt to ridicule them in order to create a rift between them and their members hence undermine their unity and purpose is disingenuous.
“There’s no doubt that all members of this association are law abiding, patriotic and responsible officers who have the interest of their patients and Gambian citizens at heart. Therefore, for the Minister of Health to make a remark contrary to that is a show of poor leadership.
“These public health officers have a right to undertake industrial action or collective bargaining and The Gambia Government is obliged to respect and protect that right in fulfilment of its international obligations under ILO conventions.
“Therefore let the Minister respond to the demands of these hardworking men and women ASAP and stop empty rationalization about ongoing engagements and solutions in the pipeline! Let there be (a) solution here and now! That’s all.
“I urge the members of the association to stand their grounds. They have rights that must be defended without compromise.
“The Gambia Government has all the opportunities to address these demands and it must act and be seen to act to solve them and not to threaten workers!” the prominent and consistent human rights defender stated.
Meanwhile the association has been on an indefinite sit-down strike since 4th June demanding payment of particular allowances, yet to be met.