ILO, CEC, CCL and EU joint message on the occasion of International Labour Day
The Caribbean Employers’ Confederation (CEC) and the Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL), along with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Union (EU) are pleased to join the global community in celebrating International Labour Day on 1 May, 2018.
Our partnership within the EU-funded project known as “Support to Facilitate Participation of CARIFORUM Civil Society in the Regional Development and Integration Process: Challenges to CARIFORUM Labour, Private Sector and Employers to fulfil their EPA Obligations” has been a fruitful one. The journey has been one of growth, insight, negotiation, stock-taking, reassessing and renewed commitment to the stated objective.
Social dialogue is critical to achieving decent work. Decent work is the driver of economic development and social justice. We believe that strong national and regional Workers’ and Employers’ organizations around the negotiating table make for a stronger CARIFORUM. Social partners have a key role to play, along with Governments, in creating wealth and ensuring its equitable distribution across all sectors of society. This is the best way to achieve stability and lasting peace.
Every opportunity must be seized to ensure that all members of society benefit from complex agreements such as the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between CARIFORUM and the European Union (EU) that sound abstract yet have a lot to offer for everyone in concrete terms. The decent work agenda is firmly rooted in all of the EU’s economic partnership agreements so that free trade also means fair trade. The role of trade unions and employers’ organizations is critical in the implementation and monitoring of the decent work aspects to ensure positive effects of the EPA on jobs and enterprises, achieve a level playing field on today’s global marketplace, and prevent a global social race to the bottom.
The CEC and CCL have issued joint position papers on issues of common interest which both regional organisations and their affiliates will use to inform their participation in regional and national social dialogue platforms. These policy positions are in the respect of Occupational Safety and Health; minimum wage policy; and social protection. This solid bi-partite stance is a milestone since generally, employers and workers tend to be on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Another milestone is the invitation issued by CARICOM to the CEC and CCL to participate in the upcoming 37th meeting of the Council on Human and Social Development (COHSOD) in Guyana from 2-5 May, 2018. The CEC and CCL will have a chance to be part of these high level discussions which will provide input into policy decisions to be adopted regionally.
The ILO and EU are pleased to have played a supporting role in building capacity in the region, bolstering efforts already being made to achieve a just deal for everyone. Now that the project is ending on 01 May, 2018 it is time to celebrate together our achievements in furthering tripartism, which combines the dynamism of the market economy with a strong emphasis on human security, on education and on social well-being, as we commemorate International Labour Day.
A message from the Peoples’s Progressive Party for Labour Day 2018
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) takes this opportunity to extend warmest greetings to all categories of workers and labour leaders throughout the nation on this the occasion of International Workers’ Day or Labour Day, as it is commonly known here.
This significant day, which celebrates the important resource of human labour, allows for workers to rally in solidarity with each other and to further highlight their invaluable contributions to development to Guyana, as well as highlight their gains and challenges in their quest for advancement.
The contributions of workers, which have been the bedrock towards the many struggles for the betterment of lives of our countrymen and women, sometimes go unheralded. Had it not been for their selfless efforts it would have become difficult for our achievements over time.
The PPP therefore salutes their resoluteness, dedication, innovativeness and forthrightness for the hard work and sacrifices they continue to perform and make every day for their families and all the people of our country.
Our Party is not oblivious of the numerous burdens they are now made to carry as a result of the inept management of the national economy and the harsh measures meted out to them. With the implementation of a plethora of new taxes, a contracting economy and rising costs of living, our nation’s workers are now made to experience tremendous difficulties to provide for their families.
This harrowing situation is even more heart-wrenching for the thousands of sugar workers who lost their jobs following the callous closure of some estates. The economic hardships they are now saddled with have led to them being humiliated and an exacerbation of social ills with numerous negative impacts.
As workers march in solidarity on this Labour Day, their plight and that of their compatriots will no doubt be foremost through their voices. The PPP will continue to stand in solidarity with workers in every stratum in our society and to robustly and fearlessly represent their cause.
The PPP, mindful of the difficulties our workers are now enduring, hopes that in some way, the observances of this May Day will be rewarding.
Once again best wishes to our workers on this their day.
People’s Progressive Party
PNCR Labour Day Message 2018
The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) joins all Guyanese workers in celebrating Labour Day 2018. This is usually the occasion when the workers of the world and the organisations, which represent them, take stock of their situations and conditions and resolve to take strong and determined actions to ensure that their gains are preserved, and that the fight continues for a better future.
On this occasion, the PNCR recognises the critical role that Trade Unions have played in the political, economic and social development of the country and asserts that such a role can only continue if the Trade Union Movement as a whole remains united and protect the interests of the workers of this country. The Party also admonishes the trade union movement to recognise that the current era demands that Trade Unions must make necessary adjustments to cope with the existing and emerging challenges, so that they can survive and remain relevant.
The PNCR salutes the workers of this nation as we work together to create a more cohesive and prosperous Guyana where all can achieve the promised “good life.” The PNCR asserts that such a society can only come about if the Trade Union Movement as a whole is united and protect the interests of the workers of this country.
The PNC started as a working-class Party and will never give up fighting for the workers. The PNCR most of all remains committed to achieving national unity and to building bridges to all communities, organisations and groups which are interested in the well-being of our citizens and the progress of our country.
GAWU salutes the workers of Guyana on Labour Day
As we celebrate Labour Day 2018, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) is pleased to extend militant greetings to all our workers, indeed, to all Guyanese.
Labour Day is one of the few holidays observed internationally and is always a reminder of those of the working-class who have made invaluable contributions to better workers lives. It is also the occasion for the working-class to acknowledge its common objectives and recognize the need for solidarity in their ever-sharpening struggles for a peaceful world and a better life.
Our Union is pleased to take part in this year’s activities which are being held unitedly by the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) and the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC). The main rally in the city is one of the several activities which have resulted from the improved collaboration and co-operation between the two (2) workers’ bodies. We are optimistic that this positive development in the relations between FITUG and the GTUC will be strengthened in the period ahead.
Labour Day offers another appropriate occasion to express our concerns over some policies being pursued of recent and their effects on the working people of the country. Here we refer to the uncalled cessation of the Education Grant to school children; the removal of subsidies from Old Aged Pensioners; the significant increases in licences and other fees; the increase in certain taxes as well as the introduction of new taxes. These and other things should be reviewed with a view to restore those benefits and rescind those measures which will certainly further raise the cost-of-living.
As we celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of workers, we cannot fail to take note of the state our workers find themselves in today.
From the recently released Guyana Labour Force Survey we see a very discouraging picture. Apart from telling us that less than half of the working-age population is actually employed, it provided some very worrying statistics concerning youth and female unemployment and the disparity in earnings between men and women. For us it is very vexing that notwithstanding a national 40-hour work week, workers are working beyond the stipulated time which serves to indicate that low rates-of-pay are being offered and the workers must work the extra hours in order to make ends meet.
The report also pointed out that about 50 per cent of those employed work in the informal sector. The ILO has generally warned that such situations should not be encouraged as workers tend to be exploited and such precarious forms of employment tend to lend to increased impoverishment. On this score, we were very surprised, and at the same time upset, to learn that 8.8 per cent of public sector employees appear to have an informal job. If this is indeed the reality it is sad that our Government is encouraging such employment relations and should take every step to formalize the situation.
The Trade Union movement, indeed, the working-class and other working people have a number of matters to reflect on, discuss and to seek to resolve. With the unity being forced, we are optimistic that we can give, in a principled way, the necessary leadership to meet the challenges before us.
The GAWU is sure, that together, in our unity, we can overcome obstacles in our way and the Trade Unions can make a major contribution towards a new day and a better society for our people.