Guyana’s Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton is urging companies that are new to Guyana, especially those in the oil and gas sector to better acquaint themselves with the Laws of Guyana.
Speaking during the opening of a Labour Seminar for foreign-owned companies operating in Guyana’s Oil and Gas sector, the Minister said based on his experience when meeting with many of the companies, they are not fully aware of the country’s labour laws.
He said it may be a case of them receiving bad advice from their Attorneys and Human Resource personnel.
According to Minister Hamilton, “in many of the instances that I have intervened in, it is local human resource and lawyers who have misdirected companies and that’s a sad thing…it created the condition for companies to break the law and I say that publicly, so people could understand.”
Hamilton said he has seen contracts that are not in compliance with local laws being foisted upon workers and that needs to stop.
He said the Labour Department has received numerous complaints from workers and their union representatives about a number of issues in the workplace, which range from them not being paid for overtime work to some being underpaid.
“Many of the things I have seen popping up, you didn’t have them in the other sector, so to speak. So, the oil and gas sector has its peculiarity and that is the reason why it is necessary and important to have them in one space”, he said.
The Government intends to ensure staff members of the Labour Department are better trained to better monitor the companies involved in the oil and gas sector.
Prime Minister Mark Phillips applauded the move for more training and said the government will always support the rights of workers.
“Guyana’s new portfolio will bring in many more investors, but even as we welcome this growth we must ensure that our people’s interest is protected and at the end of our exchange each stakeholder has a clear understanding of their responsibility for the expectations required of them” Prime Minister Phillips added.
Over 80 companies participated in the training programme today with the Labour Department.