Government committed to better life for working class; raising Private Sector minimum wage

Government parliamentarian and trade unionist, Mr. Seepaul Narine, has rubbished the APNU+AFC Opposition’s claims that the Administration is not committed to enhancing the lives and livelihoods of Guyana’s working class.

Mr. Narine comments came during the 2020 Budget debates on Monday. 

He reminded the APNU+AFC Coalition that it was during their tenure that over 30,000 Guyanese lost their jobs.

According to Mr. Narine, Guyana’s unemployment rate stood at 13 per cent in 2017. After this, scores of employees from sugar estates were placed on the breadline and workers in the bauxite industry lost economic stability. He said the former Administration had attempted to hoodwink the population by failing to publish Guyana’s unemployment rate in the succeeding years. 

The country’s poverty rate, which would have been 30 per cent at the time, was also never updated. The Government MP then challenged the Opposition to reveal those numbers.

Mr. Narine also condemned the now Opposition’s treatment of educators.

“One has to remember that it was under the previous PPP/C Administration that the teachers’ unions were able to have agreements after agreements, as compared to the APNU+AFC Government when teachers stood up for their rights. What were they told? [That they were] ‘Greedy, selfish’,” Mr. Narine stated. 

He also blasted the Opposition for the collapsing Guyana Forestry Commission.

“The Guyana Forestry Commission which had once been a profitable entity, could not have paid salaries for a few months [nor] bonus of $25,000 awarded in 2018. Our Honourable Minister had to recently bail them out to provide that money so that four workers could be paid,” he said. 

Mr. Narine also expounded on plans to revitalise the Ministry of Labour.

“The re-establishment of the Ministry of Labour is a living example of the PPP commitment to respect the working people and have in place a Ministry to address their problems at work,” he said. 

Mr. Narine also criticised the APNU+AFC Government’s failure to concretise the raising of the minimum wage for Private Sector employees to $60,000, even after a unanimous decision to that end in 2019.

He committed that the increase would be implemented under the PPP/C Administration. 

Minister of Labour, Hon. Joseph Hamilton had announced in August 2020 that discussions were being held to finalise this measure. The Private Sector minimum wage is currently $44,200 per month.

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