[www.inewsguyana.com] – On the heels of celebrations to mark another Labour Day tomorrow (Thursday, May 1), the opposition minority, the Alliance for Change (AFC) has called for the revival of local labour movements.
The Party in a statement said that while there is much that workers can celebrate, having earned the right to workers representation and the momentum of the labour movement since the days of Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow, George DePena and others has waned.
The AFC made it clear that this was not a criticism of the present labour leaders but recognition of the need to double efforts so that the workers of Guyana can enjoy their full rights, recognition and just rewards.
“The Alliance for Change stands ready to partner with all unions in this regard,” the statement noted.
The Party pointed out too, that to the detriment of workers, Trade Unions are divided along political lines.
“Some of our Unions face uphill battles with a government that view their representation through political lenses, seeing them as political opponents. Thousands more of our workers are unrepresented and lack the wherewithal to seek legal recourse to represent their interests. Many more are not even aware of their legal rights.”
The AFC demanded that there be meaningful collective bargaining to achieve living wages for unionised workers.
The Party observed that most workers face the challenge of inadequate wages, high cost of living, veiled threats of vicitimisation for their political beliefs and a general sense of not being able to provide for ‘rainy days’.
“Our workers, conscious of the wholly inadequate Old Age Pension also face the challenge of not being able to take care of themselves financially when they retire. Under the PPPC Government, workers have been turned into hired protesters. This is a shameful descent of a party that once boasts of being pro working class to this base level of opportunistic political lust. The institutionalisation by the PPPC of contracted employees has undermined the public service and trade unionism in Guyana.”
The Alliance For Change saluted all workers in Guyana both in the private and public sector with special regards to the thousands who ‘eke out a daily living in the informal private sector; the thousands of vendors, unskilled labourers, push-cart operators, mini-bus drivers, sanitation workers, the ordinary grass-roots citizens who continuously struggle to provide a livelihood for their families while providing a valuable service to all.’
The Party urged that focus be paid to all workers, those in the formal and informal sectors for it is the combined contributions of Guyana’s total labour force, the efforts of all citizens, that will be needed to move this country forward.