Worker’s rights, capacity building, human development – key focus of Labour Ministry
— Minister Hamilton will be advocating for the rights of workers to be unionised
— will soon meet with representatives of RUSAL concerning operations, workers’ situation
DPI, Guyana, Saturday, August 15, 2020
The Minister of Labour, Hon. Joseph Hamilton, will be meeting with the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), to address outstanding issues identified by the unions.
The Minister is expected to meet representatives from each union in separate meetings “because they are individual entities, and I would prefer to hold individual consultations to address the matters in a more depth manner.”
According to Minister Hamilton, brief talks were held with the unions on Wednesday, where representatives outlined their challenges to him. The Minister assured that the issues will be dealt with in terms of priority and resolutions will be given a timeline based on the complexity resolving the matter.
The Labour Minister disclosed that in those initial discussions, he outlined the fundamental objectives of his Ministry, which are, Capacity building; Human Development – ensuring the socio-economic condition of workers are upgraded and the Rights of Workers.
He also plans to engage all the companies involved in the Oil and Gas sector, as well as emerging sectors.
“Whether they are subsidiary agents or sub-contractors, I will sit with them and explain the laws of Guyana and our expectations. If they come here, expecting to make good money on their returns, then I expect that they must first respect our laws and treat our works fairly.”
One such law the Minister says he will be advocating for the rights of workers to be unionised.
Also on the Labour Minister’s agenda are engagements with the mining companies, to resolve outstanding employment issues; among these are Guyana Gold Fields and Troy Resources.
“I will have a conversation with the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association to get a perspective from them, what is happening and what the difficulties they are facing,” Minister Hamilton relayed.
Meetings will also be held with the Guyana Women Miners Association, and the Small Miners Association, to regain trust and promote capacity building of the workforce. In the Forestry sector, the work conditions will also be examined.
Minister Hamilton underscored that he would engage all the umbrella organisations in all the sectors.
“The trust is the capacity building of our workforce so that they would be able to tap into the new and emerging industries so they too can earn decent wages. Others are currently earning the ‘big bucks’ and we have to set a timeline of how that will change as a Government and as a nation.”
On August 17, the Minister Hamilton, along with Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat, will be meeting with representatives of RUSAL concerning operations and the situation of the workers.