Bread bakers in The Gambia on Wednesday, embarked on a sit-down strike. The strike action, has resulted in the massive shortage of bread in the Greater Banjul Area. The capital City Banjul and Serrekunda were among the most hard-hit communities. Consumers woke up on Wednesday morning, only to be told that the bakers are on a sit down strike.
This followed, a price dispute between the local bakers and the Ministry of Trade. Trade Minister Isatou Touray, has in the recent past engaged the bakers, asking them to consider reducing the price of bread. She told them that the new government has inherited a virtually bankrupt economy; hence she said, the bakers should consider not increasing prices.
Trade Minister Touray is said out of the country at the time of the protest march organized by the bakers. His Deputy Permanent Secretary Dampha was earlier on Paradise TV, explaining the efforts being made to reach a compromise with the striking bakers.
Amie Bojang Sissoho, the Director of Press at the President’s office told journalists on Wednesday during a news conference that the president’s office is aware of the strike action. She said the situati on hasn’t reached a stage to warrant the intervention of the President’s office. She says the Trade Ministry is handling the matter; and hopefully the barkers and the government will reach a consensus on the matter.
So far, no consensus has been reached on the bread price dispute. Bakers have cited what they called the high cost of flour in the market. They said, they cannot sell their bread on losses. They called on the government be sensitive their plight.
Abdoulie Saine, the former APRC Member of Parliament for Banjul Central told this medium that he was surprised by the bakers strike action. Saine said he woke on Wednesday morning only to discover that there was no bread in Banjul. He said he had to search around the city, before he could find a locally made bread, which he says was limited—giving the growing demand for bread in Banjul. Saine said about ninety percent of Banjulians consume bread on a daily basis. He says the shortage of such an important food stuff will cause hunger in many families.
Besides rice, which is Gambia’s main staple food, bread is the most consumed food in the country. Saine explains to this medium to what extent has the bread shortage affected Gambians.
“The bread shortage is causing a nightmare in this city. Bread is the main meal here. People eat bread in the morning; afternoon, and at night. Families are suffering because of the bread shortage,” he said.
Gambian Market women vendors, who relied on bread to cater for the needs of their customers, have also been badly hit by the bread shortage. They had to close their stalls because of the bread shortage.
The average Gambian lives below one United States dollar per day. With the price for bag of rice on the increase, Saine said the government should intervene before more people will suffer.
From: The World News