Labour Survey welcomed but conclusions worrisome, says FITUG

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The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) says that while it is pleased with the Bureau of Statistics quarterly publication of the Guyana Labour Force Survey, the statistics published are worrisome.

According to the Federation in a statement, the survey noted a decrease in the male employment rate between the 2012 census and the end of September, 2017 and an increase in the female employment rate in the same period.

“It seems to indicate that men who have lost their jobs are finding it difficult to secure new jobs and their wives are forced to enter the job market. This is particularly worrying noting that females earn 36 per cent less than their male counterparts, in salaried jobs. In those instances where a woman has become their family’s breadwinner, their family, depending on its size, at best, has become vulnerable to slip into poverty or, at worst, find themselves in an impoverished state” FITUG reasoned.

Taking a jab at the Government’s call for persons to take up self employment, FITUG cited the survey which outlined that that the self-employed, on average, earn about 23 per cent less than their counterparts who are in salaried employment.

“We also recognized that the unemployment rate has remained relatively unchanged falling marginally from 12.5 per cent in the 2012 Census to 12 per cent at the end of September, 2017. It would be interesting to see what the rate would be at the end of March, 2018 following the implementation of the mass redundancy in the sugar industry.”

The survey also revealed that women represented more than half (50.7 per cent) of the unemployed though they account for 39.9 per cent of the labour force. According to FITUG,  “it means that women have both a lower chance of getting a job and a higher possibility of being unemployed. For our womenfolk, this is not encouraging especially at this time.”

Youth unemployment, the Federation said remains alarmingly high at 21.6 per cent at the end September, 2017.

“For the thousands of graduates emerging from high school and university, this is not good news and belies the Government’s promise of jobs for youths. The situation of the youth is especially worrying considering that the survey advised that half the population is under 25 years and a quarter of those between 15 and 24 years are enrolled in educational institutions. It, therefore, means that a vast number of our young people are looking for work or have become fed up with job hunting and may be encouraged or forced to take another path”said the FITUG.

Moreover, the Federation posited that jobs are becoming more difficult to come by, noting that this is evidenced in the survey’s statistics that point to 42.5 per cent of the adult population being unemployed and 36.9 per cent of the unemployed youths being without work for over a year.

Additionally, FITUG says “it is very vexing that notwithstanding a national 40-hour work week, workers are working beyond the stipulated time. It is especially bothersome for males who are working, on average, more than 10 hours per week above the stipulated working-week.”

“While we commend the Bureau of Statistics for a well-done job and look forward to the timely release of future reports, we call on our Government to take heed of the stark realities the data depicts and to address in a pragmatic and comprehensive manner the terrible conditions revealed” said FITUG.

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