Government’s decision to subvert the Labour Ministry into a department within the Social Protection Ministry, two of Guyana’s prominent trade unions are disgruntled by the decision and have demanded the reestablishment of the ministry.
At a joint press conference Monday, the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) and Federation of Independent Trades Union of Guyana (FITUG) voiced their concerns on the matter.
As the unions are preparing for its May Day Rally, they are reiterating calls for government to rescind its decision to have the ministry reduced to a mere department of labour.
As a result of the decision, the unions are complaining that workers do not have an equitable chance of their rights being adequately represented since there seems to be a disjointed ministry for this purpose.
General Secretary of GTUC Lincoln Lewis cited that this is the first time in the country’s history that the Ministry of Labour had been ‘pushed out’ even at a time when Guyana is said to be advancing.
Lewis underlined the core value of having a labour ministry and its relation to building a country that is sustainable and geared towards development.
With the ministry eliminated from government, he said this shows there is no emphasis being placed on workers and more so a representation for their rights.
Lewis believes the government had “twisted” the system, since the Ministry of Social Protection should have been an element of the Ministry of Labour and not the other way around.
Since there is no labour ministry, Lewis said there is less engagement with the labour movement and as such there is a reduced chance of having consultations and discussions to address issues within the sector.
He stressed that when union issues arise, there is no particular ministry that one can turn to, neither a minister was chosen to independently represent the public servants.
After taking to office in May 2015, the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change government reconfigured, created, and renamed a number of ministries.
The unions are appealing to government to review its decision and work in favour of public servants to have the deserved attention placed on a ministry to address their affairs.