By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Junior Social Protection Minister, Simona Broomes has revealed that one of the major concerns for her Ministry is the fact that many employees are still being paid below the national minimum wage.
Broomes made the revelation on Monday December 07, while speaking during an interview on 94.1’s Jumpstart.
While the National Minimum wage is $35,000, public sector employees receive a minimum of $49,000 since the Government recently increased the minimum wage for public sector employees.
Broomes, since taking office six months ago, has engaged in several worksite sweeps along Regent Street and at several mining camps in Guyana’s interior.
With regards to central Georgetown, one of the issues stumbled upon was the fact that employers paid persons below the minimum wage.
“You find infractions where people are being paid the minimum wage and they are injured on the job and it is not reported because they are promised payment,” said Broomes.
She also revealed that some wage documents are not correctly constructed, which could amount to some form of illegality on the part of employers. Broomes also recalled stumbling on what she described to be a sweatshop in Guyana’s central business district.
In this case, employees were working in a “galvanized” store while “the employers just put himself in a glass case…the entire environment was like a sweat shop,” she said.
In the interior district, they were different issues, including a clear difference between sites that housed local employees and sites that had foreign employees.
“You could have told the companies where they have foreign workers and where they have local workers,” said Broomes adding that some of the environments were “horrible.”
“One of the things that’s real saddening is the fear of workers – workers cannot speak…that will change in this country, the employee/employer relationship (has to change),” she said.
Labour Department Consultant, Francis Carryl stated that going forward, employees should be looking for a clear understanding of their wages and their obligations to the employer.
“People are not aware of that they are required to do and at the end of the day they are seriously disenfranchised,” he said.
Carryl plugged the need for workers education on these issues “left right and center.”