‘Workers gains being threatened, reversed’- PPP

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…Labour Day Messsage  

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) in their labour day message articulated, among other things, the innumerable victories that workers have attained from slavery to present, however, according to the party under the incumbent APNU/AFC government those gains are now being eroded.

See full statement below:

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) extends greetings to all workers, labour leaders, and indeed to all Guyanese, on this important day. We recognise that it is the toil, sweat and sacrifices of our workers that are responsible for whatever achievements we have made, and successes we enjoy as a country and as a people. We further recognise that it is our workers that will be responsible for catapulting us to whatever heights we attain in the future.

From slavery, indentureship, colonial times to present day, workers have scored innumerable victories and have radically transformed their working conditions. Today, the Guyanese workers have all the legal protection, rights and freedoms that workers enjoy almost everywhere. The struggle to accomplish these feats was long and hard. Many were brutalised; many were jailed, and many paid the ultimate price with their lives. These victories must be celebrated, sacrifices respected, and lives never forgotten.

However, many of the gains won by these workers are now being threatened, and much of the progress made is being reversed under this Administration.

From our travels and meetings across this country, we are aware that the economic and political situation in our country is a matter of deep concern of, and worry to, workers and their families. Workers from every sector and people from all walks of life are apprehensive, not only about their daily existence, but, more importantly, about their future, their children’s future, and the future of our country. We are well aware that these fears and apprehensions are well founded.

Every productive sector is on the decline. In the sugar industry, estates are being closed and thousands are being dismissed; in the rice sector, they are no new markets, and no competitive price is being offered for paddy; in the mining sector, small- and medium-scale miners can no longer afford the cost of production; in the forestry sector, there are no markets for logs; in the commercial sector, there is a drastic decline in trade and commerce. And we can go on. We appreciate the devastating impact which the draconian tax regime imposed by this Administration is having on the working and vulnerable people of our country. We recognise that taxes and VAT on electricity, water, education and health services are simply wreaking havoc on families across this land.

Politically, workers are operating in an environment where discrimination is rampant; their rights and freedoms to march and protest are threatened; the rule of law is under siege; and political witch-hunting and persecution have become institutionalised policies of the Government of the day.

Against this dismal backdrop, we stand strongly in solidarity with our workers as they face these various challenges. We urge them to stay resolute, to unite, to stand up for their rights; and to remember that the PPP is on their side in the struggle for a better life.

Happy Labour Day to all.

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