“Strict Labour Laws for a transformed labour force” – Min. Scott

─ review of labour laws to protect workers in the oil and gas sector

DPI, Guyana, Friday, September 13, 2019

Plans are in the making to review the labour laws of Guyana. Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Hon. Keith Scott made this disclosure on the National Communications Network’s (NCN) radio programme ‘INSIGHT’.

The minister said there are too many reports from the private and public sectors of workers being mistreated as it relates to the laws that govern the labour force.

“The Department of Labor specifically deals with labour and manpower survey and gathering of statistics, among other crucial areas. To eradicate labour laws issues within the private sector, we are in constant discussions, for example, the Ministry of Natural Resources since many private businesses are formulated under that ministry.”

According to Minister Scott, the Department of Labour is “very keen on Unions” since they function as direct representatives of workers in Guyana. He noted that one of the goals of the Labour Department is to strengthen communication between unions and employers, to build a stable industrial relation climate. The department, he said, regularly advises employers on the labour laws and this has led to a significant reduction in protest action in Guyana.

“We want to move away from the politics of confrontation and with that said, we are pushing trade unions to seek out employers and employees, assess issues on the worksite to enable them to function through good partnership, where proper wages are paid and good treatment and encouragement are given to workers.”

Minister Scott emphasised that the emerging oil and gas sector will be the breakthrough for Guyana’s economy. However, he reiterated that the department will put every effort into ensuring that Guyanese workers in the sector are treated fairly.

“We are in discussions with the Attorney General’s Chambers, looking at ways and means to update the labour laws that exist in respect to employers. Especially when an employer is summoned to visit the labour department to address matters, it must be carried out, which all comes back to obeying the country’s labour laws,” Minister Scott remarked.