GAWU urges Private Sector to increase minimum wage for workers

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– public servants to now receive $70,000 monthly, private workers still get $44,200

In light of the recent increase of minimum wages for those in the public sector, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) is urging the Private Sector to follow suit.

At its end of year press conference, GAWU stated that as 2019 comes to an end, it is dismal that the Private Sector employees will not enjoy benefits or increases which Government workers can and will benefit from.

“This stark disparity requires urgent attention. Our Union is aware that the National Tripartite Committee (NTC), which comprises representatives of the labour movement, the Private Sector and the Government, at its meeting in April, this year agreed to up the national minimum wage to $60,000 per month. The increase which, we understand, was supported by all the constituents, at this time, has not been implemented,” the Union stated.

According to the GAWU, since the abovementioned meeting that was held in the month of April, there has been no attempt made to reconvene the NTC meeting which is usually chaired by Social Protection Minister, Amna Ally.

“We are at a loss as to why the NTC is not meeting as such meetings are critical to ensure that the decision to increase the national minimum wage is implemented. Undoubtedly our nation’s workers are more than deserving and the improvement would bring about much-deserved relief to our working-class.”

Some six months ago, Consultant of the Labour Department at the Ministry, Francis Carryl had explained that the economy is vastly changing and another increase is crucial at this time.

“We’re not sure when the consultations will be completed, but we are working assiduously to raise the Private Sector’s minimum wage, to bring it up to speed with the 2019 economic circumstances. We don’t want to excite anyone, but all the parties including the unions, employers and the Government are interested with what has been brought to the table. As soon as the consultations are completed, we will announce the increase,” Carryl at that time related.

However, to date, there has been no such increase or a date slated for an increase to be implemented for Private Sector employees across the country.

In light of this, many workers attached to the country’s Private Sector have over the year left their jobs and sought employment at Government-run agencies or Ministries.

In January 2017, the Private Sector’s minimum wage was increased from an hourly rate of $202 to $255, taking the monthly wage from $35,000 to $44,200.