Market women threaten strike action
By Francis Ndanema in Moyamba
Market women in Moyamba have threatened to embark on a sit down strike if the contractor for the new market building and the Treasury Clerk fail to revert to the old market due of Le500 instead of the new Le1,000 being levied.
The aggrieved women told Concord Times as they led a protest to the Paramount Chief of Kaiyamba Chiefdom, Foday Momoh Gulama, that the increment by the local administration was unacceptable and will not be honoured by them.
One of the protesting market women, Edith Quee, informed PC Gulama that the market contractor, David Tommy and Treasury Clerk, Julius Sandy are responsible for the sudden increase.
“We were asked to pay Le1,000 instead of Le500. They couldn’t listen to us despite several pleas we made to them to revert to the old fee,” she complained. “We’ve decided to inform you because we believe you can look into our concern.”
Also speaking, Sallay Yonge maintained that they are currently experiencing low sales in their businesses and that paying Le1,000 will mean they would only be working for the local administration instead of themselves.
She highlighted the many problems they have to contend with in their various homes as majority of them are single parents, while others are bread winners of their homes as their husbands have long retired.
Explaining the rationale for the increase, Treasury Clerk Julius Sandy stated that the market is currently in a bad state and they need money to rehabilitate it, as well as construct stores where market women can keep their goods instead of having to pay commercial motorbikes on a daily basis to transport their wares to and from the market.
He urged the market women to reason with them and pay the new fee to enable them accomplish their plans for the market.
In his response, Paramount Chief Gulama thanked the women for agreeing to abandon their earlier plan of embarking on a sit down strike, which he said would have brought the township and its environs to a standstill.
He assured them that the market dues will be reverted to the previous Le500, but urged them to ensure they pay their dues daily so that the local administration can generate enough resources to carry out some minor repairs on the market.
“Those with big businesses will pay more than Le500. Let me make it very clear that revenues collected from the market will not be sufficient to undertake the projects I have in mind,” he said.