Although the Private Sector Commission [PSC] welcomed the new national minimum wage of $35,000 per month, the Commission expressed its disappointment that government did not consult with them before implementing it.
In a statement issued today, the PSC stated that they are concerned at the short period of one month’s notice given for employers to implement the new Order.
“For many employers, including security firms and exporters who have contracts with foreign firms, the lack of adequate notice means that they would have already negotiated contracts based upon the old wage rates and are not now in a position to renegotiate those contracts.”
According to the PSC, a number of employers, particularly those in the garment industry which have to compete with such countries as China, Bangladesh and the Dominican Republic, are now faced with the prospect of the laying off of workers in order to avoid the collapse of their businesses.
“The country can ill afford to have workers being laid off at this crucial time and we are urging that, at least for Government contracts, bidders are allowed to renegotiate,” the PSC stated.
The Commission explained that another concern of employers is the new provision for a forty hour work week to be restricted to five days.
“Most employers have been complying with a forty hour work week but spread over a five and a half day week. For many employers the new Order means that work on Saturdays is now no longer an option leading to a cessation of operations on those days.”
“The Private Sector Commission is disappointed that the Government did not consult with the Commission on this crucial issue which affects not only employers but the sustained livelihood of thousands of Guyanese workers.”