GWI to examine workers’ risk coverage- issue of fairness and justice to workforce underscored
DPI/GINA, Tuesday, June 06, 2017
The Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) is considering an initiative aimed at providing workers compensation coverage. Managing Director, Dr. Richard Van West-Charles sees this as another step towards improving the working and environment conditions, as well as job satisfaction.
GWI has over the past 20 months invested over $67 Million in the development of it’s the workforce, towards providing a safe work environment. The Managing Director noted however that, “GWI has not covered all of its bases with respect to its workers.” He said that an area that still needs to be addressed is providing proper risk benefit provision, for those employees that may be injured on the job.
“Many workers leave their homes to go into the interior (hinterland.) Recently we sent a team into Mahdia. Recently we sent a team to look at the flood. Young engineers… we send them in areas with risk. One of the things that we have not done as yet, and we have to do, is to ensure that these workers when they go into these high risk areas, that (they) are insured so that if anything unfortunate were to happen, their families are at least protected. That is part of our unfinished business, which we have to do,” Dr. Van West-Charles said at the recent GWI’s Prize Giving and Awards Ceremony, in observance of its 15th Anniversary celebration.
GWI has also invested heavily in improving occupational health and safety to ensure that its workforce is protected in the working environment. The stipend of the sanitation workers was increased from a mere $5 to $1500 per day. For the first time, facilities were also put in place to allow these workers to shower at work, before they go home. According to the Managing Director, GWI will soon be putting systems in place to provide free laundry and dry cleaning services to these staffers.
According to Dr. Van West-Charles, GWI investments in its staff are part of the water company’s commitment in raising the bar on the standard and quality of the service that it delivers countrywide.
Dr. Van West-Charles says that the water company recognises that in looking to the future the importance of the workforce has to be centered in terms of the production of the services, GWI’s customer relations and all citizens across the length and breadth of Guyana.
“There are many wrongs and many rights with respect to the workforce but going forward the issue of fairness and justice to the workforce has to be underscored as a principal part of the operations of the company,” Dr. Van West-Charles said.
Over the past 20 months, the first time in the history of the water company, training was extended to all levels of staff, both locally and aboard, covering such areas of well drilling, planning, designing and managing, water treatment and waste water treatment plants and customer service.
By: Macalia Santos