first_img-sends letter to Opposition leader and Speaker concerning issueGTUC’s General Secretary Lincoln Lewis during the conference along with other representatives from GAWU and FITUGThe Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) along with the Federation of Independent Trade Unions in Guyana (FITUG) met on Friday to renew their call for the reintroduction of the Labour Ministry to deal with the affairs of the workers.During a press conference at the Guyana Trade Union Congress headquarters, the trade Unions laid down a number of demands that have been proposed to the Government, but primary on the list was the reintroduction of the Labour Ministry which had been subsumed under the Social Protection Ministry after the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) assumed office in 2015.Speaking on behalf of the trade unions inclusive of the Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) and the Guyana Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) was Lincoln Lewis, General Secretary of Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC), who said the Unions are very much aware of the remarks by the President on the issue, but they are still maintaining the point that the Ministry is an essential part in the building of the labour sector.“We have heard President Granger and we respect his position but we are saying that we have justification,” Lewis made clear.President Granger had made his position clear during an edition of the “Public Interest” that there is no need for the Labour Ministry, since it is suitably placed under the Administration of the Social Protection Ministry. The Head of State had said that if he felt there was a need for a Labour Ministry then he would have created one.“I think the labour portfolio is well placed. I think the duties within the Ministry of Social Protection are clearly defined and had made it clear why I felt that the name social protection is more appropriate,” he further stated.Though the Ministry is still technically in existence but listed under the administration of the Social Protection Ministry, the Unions are arguing that this proves how “insignificant” the Government is deeming the labour sector of Guyana.Noting the accomplishments of the trades unions over its years of existence which have been contributory factors to the progress of Guyana, Lewis cited that there should be enough emphasis placed on the sector to highlight this.Making reference to the current issues manifesting in the labour sector, Lewis concluded that these are subsisting due to the absence of the Ministry.Lewis cited that in 1982 there had been a similar occurrence where the Labour Ministry was replaced by the ”Ministry of manpower, labour and cooperative” but due to unwavering demands by the labour movement this was adjusted by the then President Linden Forbes Burnham.The Unions are hoping that this Government will also listen to their demands and realise how significant a Labour Ministry is to the economical growth of the country, primarily because it deals with the human resource, the labour force.Lewis added that is it abnormal that the Government would introduce a Ministry of Business and would not even consider the labour conditions in Guyana, though the two go hand in hand theoretically.As the Government has continued with its “rhetoric” regarding inclusion and national unity in Guyana, the Unions have sent out letters to the President, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, as well as the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, in order to have their proposals recognised broadly.Questioned on what planned actions the Unions have collectively, if these demands are not met, Lewis stated that there have been no discussions on this since the Unions believe that its proposals are just and should be agreed upon by the Government.“We believe that our proposals are just and as such we have not come up with any strategy to fight but to ensure that they consider them objectively.”As the labour sector gears toward the celebration of its accomplishment through a unified Labour Day rally and the country is preparing for its Golden Jubilee anniversary, the Unions believe that this is the time that the Government should give attention to the labour sector and more so the Ministry.last_img read more