Solidarity Forever, ‘the Union makes us Strong!’

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, May 1, 2019

Labour day, May day or workers day as it is known worldwide, is the day scores of workers come out in celebration of social and economic liberation. Labour day 2019 is celebrated under the theme “A long journey for social justice – together we can achieve.”

Today, hundreds of workers braved the inclement weather and gathered at the Parade Ground to march though the streets of Georgetown in support of their unions. Many reflected on the challenges their forefathers faced for the advancement of all workers.

Minister within the Ministry of Social protection with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott said, his Ministry’s main objective is to ensure that workers receive all their benefits due to them, ensuring that the ‘good life’ is achieved for all.

“Today celebrates all the efforts of the past. It gives honour to the heroes that walked before us. They have spent years of struggle, and today we are much better off. We as a caring government, have dedicated ourselves to making sure that private and public servants are getting better wages, pensioners’ subsidy raised. Every facet of employment is our concern at Social Protection.”

Minister Scott said, workers should recognise that the benefits they receive today are as a result of the struggles of their predecessors and that of their unions.

Meanwhile, Social Protection Minister Amna Ally at the May Day Rally, announced that the Child Labour Policy was launched in the week of April 22. She also said the Children and Family Centre at Sophia, will soon have the minor electrical works and construction of a fire escape completed by the beginning of June.  

“The Ministry of Social Protection is currently working on several key areas, to improve the lives of our workers, they include, implementation of Occupational Safety and Health Policy, the Child Labour Policy. We are also working on several pieces of labour related legislations, the establishment of an industrial court, the implementation of our decent work country programme, transformation of the informal economy into a state of formality, so that all workers therein can benefit from, Social Protection.”

Minister within the Ministry of Communities with responsibility for Housing, Annette Ferguson, urged Guyanese to ‘rub shoulders, put our hands together for a better and positive Guyana.’

“In order for development to continue, you need to depend on the labour force, so labour is very important, not only to the ministry which I am assigned to but the country. Without skilled people, doing the work we would not be able to see development.”

Guyana Teachers’ Union President, Mark Lyte reflected on the struggles the GTU faced for years and finally having it resolved as of 2019. “It signals the importance of workers coming out to indicate to their employers, we are a force and we are also sure that the wheels of the economy and the wheels of society keeps turning.”

Kipenie Jordan

Images: Jules Gibson and Marceano Narine