OSH seminar seeks to reduce work deficit in informal economy
DPI, Guyana, Wednesday, October 04, 2017
The Ministry of Social Protection (MOSP) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Wednesday, began a two-day workshop on Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) for the informal economy. The seminar is being hosted at the Herdmanston Lodge.
The workshop will teach Occupational Health and Safety trainers how to conduct sensitisation programmes in the informal economy. There will be a focus on the agriculture, construction as well as the services sectors.
Ministry of Social Protection, OSH Consultant, Gweneth King, explained that the ILO has been working with developing countries to transform the informal economy to a formal one.
“It has been found that in developing countries, the informal economy provides considerable employment which in many instances is linked to poor conditions of work, and therefore workers lack protection and are exposed to poor conditions and working environments. This workshop marks the beginning of a process to build our capacity so that we will be able to effectively sensitise workers in the sectors,” King said.
Facilitator of the workshop, Ariel Pino, highlighted in 2016, the ILO approached Guyana to address issues in the informal economy. He noted with the Labour Department’s expansion in the informal economy, this initiative will benefit those in that sector.
“We know that we can contribute to that and reduce the recent work deficits that the informal sector has. I am not saying the formal sector enjoys plenty of the decent work benefits, but those who are in the informal sector are clearly more affected by deficits of the work,” Pino said.
Meanwhile, Industrial Relations Consultant, MOSP, Francis Caryl revealed that the agriculture, construction and services sectors have attracted a great deal of informality while noting it oftentimes led to a disservice in social protection, labour management relations and safety.
“Because they are informal, they are not getting the kind of scrutiny that is deserved and the unfairness continues on a very large scale,” Caryl said.
However, he noted, it is the objective of the government in conjunction with the ILO to not only reduce such cases but to eliminate them completely.
Participant, Patricia Woolford, expressed her satisfaction with the workshop. “This workshop is very important and it is integral to improving the working conditions of all the workers in Guyana.”
Participants were drawn from the Ministry of Social Protection, Guyana Trades Union Congress, School of Agriculture, National Insurance Scheme, The Pesticide and Toxic Chemicals Control Board, to name a few.
Ten sensitisation sessions are expected to be conducted over the next two months in various communities.
By: Crystal Stoll