SOL apologises for breaching labour laws; all overtime payments up-to-date – Hamilton
An intervention by the Ministry of Labour with the management of SOL Guyana Inc., following complaints in relation to the company’s failure to honour Guyana’s labour laws on the payment of overtime, has seen the issue remedied.
It comes following a meeting between Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton, a team from the Labour Ministry and a management team from SOL Guyana Inc. on Thursday.
The Ministry had summoned the SOL management to the meeting after aggrieved workers had reached out concerning the company’s failure to pay overtime and the implementation of foreign rules in relation to the issue
Reporting on that meeting on Friday, Hamilton said the company has acknowledged the implementation of an illegal “job bank.”
He said the company’s management which included General Manager, Earl Carribon, and Operations Manager Ashreen Tekai, explained that the practice was legal in other Caribbean countries where they operate and it was being implemented in Guyana because of COVID-19 and the impact it has had on business.
“They acknowledge and they apologized for breaking the law and they said it has stopped and they have brought up to date all overtime for the staff that due,” Hamilton added.
The company was seeking to introduce a system where instead of paying overtime, workers will be given back the hours as days off.
According to the laws of Guyana, overtime is to be paid after every eight-hour shift.
Workers, who have challenged the company on the issues, had also complained of threats and intimidation from management.
Hamilton said this was also raised during the meeting and an explanation was offered.
“They said that what the discussion centered around was some new policy regarding whistle blowers in the company and some persons might have misinterpreted what the conversation was,” the Minister related.
He said the Ministry will continue engagements with SOL Guyana to guide the management in keeping with Guyana’s labour laws on a range of issues including occupational health and safety.
An employee who spoke with the News Room on Friday, but asked to remain anonymous, explained that while the apology from management is welcomed, their actions going forward will be under heavy scrutiny.
The employee said when the issue was first raised with the union several weeks ago, the company had apologized then and still continued to implement the job bank idea up until the intervention of the Ministry of Labour.