‘A sense of political mischief, totally unwarranted’ – Min. Ally responds to Opposition’s motion for re-establishment of Labour Ministry

– Motion lacks facts, truth and completely distorted

– The motion was put to vote and defeated

– “listen and learn” and “let good governance prevail”

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, July 19, 2018

Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally this evening during the 92nd Sitting of the National Assembly, described the motion moved by the Opposition Member of Parliament, Gillian Burton-Persaud as having “a sense of political mischief”.

In rebuttal, Minister Ally said the motion brought before the House was, “lacking in facts, truth and completely distorted”. She recalled the usual five percent wage increases given by the former PPP administration annually, along with the de-bunching issues with teachers, the disregard shown to schools’ sweeper cleaners, and muzzling of labour unions.

Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally.

The minister also reminded that Article 107 of the Constitution empowers the President to appoint ministers to oversee any ministry or department, hence, the creation of the Departments of Labour, Social Protection and Citizenship. The motion, Minister Ally said, was merely a “veiled attack on President Granger’s decisions,” and one which her colleagues would not condone.

According to the Social Protection Minister, the ministry’s new outlook is in keeping with the new direction of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which social protection and labour together, to better serve populations worldwide. The Decent Work Agenda, Minister Ally added, has realised several achievements such as the Decent Work Country Programme from 2017 to 2021 which promotes better working conditions for all.

She cited amendments to labour laws, the expansion of cooperative societies, a national policy on occupational safety and health, the revitalised National Council on Occupational Health and Safety Council, the enhancement of the Department of Labour’s staff and bettering of workers’ and employers’ relationships via more on-site inspections. The decline of strikes has been reduced significantly for the same period since taking office, this was also noted by the minister.

The government also increased the minimum wage levels and created a framework for a comprehensive labour agreement for example, between RUSAL and its workers.

A simple modification of the name has not affected the work of the ministry and the dedicated minister is performing well, Minister Ally reminded, as she urged the Opposition to “listen and learn”.

Labour and Social Protection go hand in hand with social justice, she reiterated and said that the government is cognisant of the interconnection of the two departments to enhance to lives of all. “Let good governance prevail”, she further added as she called on the House not to support the motion.

After strenuous presentations by both sides, the motion was put to vote and defeated by the government side.

By: Paul McAdam.

Image: Jules Gibson.