With the Guyana Public Service Union still threatening widespread strike action against the imposition of a 5% increase in wages and salaries for public servants, the Leader of the Opposition, David Granger believes it is time more attention be paid to the GUyanese worker.
In his New Year’s message to the nation Mr. Granger declared that 2014 is the year for the workers. He said “Guyana’s ‘Year for Workers’ must dawn on 1st January 2014. This country’s economic future lies in their hands. Many of our working people, however, are underemployed and unhappy and are not as productive as they could be. Workers face unsatisfactory labour relations in the sugar and mining industries and in the public and private sectors. Artisanal fisherfolk, craftsmen, small farmers and miners found themselves in difficult circumstances during 2013. Life must be better for all in 2014.”
The Year for the Workers theme was used by the Opposition leader throughout his address as he pointed out that “Guyana’s ‘Year for Workers’ must be one in which our working people should be able to look forward to a good life. It should be one in which they could look forward to living in safety, to working for ‘living wages’ to cope with the cost of living and to enjoying adequate social protection in their old age.”
He stated too that this year must be one in which workers can feel free to join trade unions of their choice; in which collective bargaining agreements between their employers and their unions will be respected and in which the state will enforce labour laws fairly but firmly to protect them from adversity and from delinquent employers.