Minister of Labour Joseph Hamilton during a virtual press conference on Monday said Guyanese workers will not be further taken advantage of by foreign or local companies.
Meetings have been planned with companies like RUSAL, Guyana Goldfields Inc, Troy Resources and oil and gas companies to ascertain the status of the workers and the government’s expectations from these companies towards the workers.
“We would engage RUSAL I plan to have a conversation with Troy Resources…Guyana Goldfield to get an understanding to what is happening with our workers and I plan to engage all the companies that are in Guyana that are involved with the oil and gas industry,” the Minister said.
RUSAL and Troy Resources have had issues in the past for terminating contracts and refusing to engage worker’s union. Hamilton said his task is to ensure workers are not taken advantage of and also advocate for their rights.
“I’ve heard a lot of stories in the oil and gas sector.”
“I would seek to say to them that simply as I understand you cannot have a Trinidadian cook or baker earning 10 times more than a Guyanese cook or baker.
“I can understand technical positions until we build capacity, but comparable jobs must have comparable pay,” the Minister stated.
It was further highlighted that contracts given to Guyanese workers also stipulated that they cannot be unionized. The Minister said all companies must recognize and respect that the works must have a union of their choice to represent them.
“Once you operate in this space, the constitution says people are allowed to participate and to establish Organisations to be part of.”
Minister Hamilton assured that his Ministry will utilize the law to ensure these companies respect the workers and the constitution.
Meetings have also been planned with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), Guyana Manufacturing Services Association, Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association and the Women Miner’s Association.
A pressing issue that has been affecting workers for quite some time now whoa are employed with security companies is late payment of salaries. Hamilton said he will work to rectify this issue.
“You have people working for you, you need to pay them weekly or monthly whatever the agreement.”
In vowing to protect the rights of workers under the Labour Laws, Minister Hamilton further committed to proper healthcare, equal pay and housing for workers and building capacity for workers in state agencies.
The Minister also said that training opportunities will further extend to young male and female prisoners so that they can “be meaningfully engaged and employed,” when they have served their time.