The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) in a statement on Friday criticized the government’s move to engage the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), saying the move reeks of double standards.
The government has set out to engage GAWU officially following a three-day countrywide strike at the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) on matters of wages and salary increases.
But according to the GTUC, such an engagement clearly signals to workers at the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) and other traditional public servants that similar action may be required of them in order to have their rights upheld.
The union reminded that in a month’s time it will mark six years of struggle by BCGI workers to have their grievances attended to consistent with the laws.
“The double standards in politics, governance and decision-making will only ensure disharmony among the citizens and divisions of the working class,” the statement added.
GTUC reminded the government that while in opposition, its members were vocal in condemnation of BCGI mistreatment of workers and the former PPP government handling of the matter.
A promise was also made to ensure justice should they be elected.
“GTUC is aware that efforts were made by Minister Simona Broomes to visit BCGI and her delegation was hindered from doing so. GTUC also engaged Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence more than once requesting enforcement of the Laws of Guyana consistent with her responsibility and oath of office. The government’s indecision and/or apparent complicity in this egregious matter require explanation.”
GTUC reiterated it calls for the right to collective bargaining to be respected for all unionised workers, not some.
Equally as the government moves with promptness to correctly uphold same for GuySuCo workers, they must do so for public servants, bauxite workers, transport and harbor, and others, the union demanded.
The union also clarified that contrary to what some officials are informing the public, the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Service has no power or authority to determine the setting of wage/salary and working conditions.
“The APNU+AFC administration is put on notice that workers did not cast their ballot for an exchange and they shall be held accountable, even more so that their contract with the electorate was made on the commitment to do better than their predecessor in upholding workers/citizens’ rights and governing consistent with the rule of law.”