With more foreign and local companies getting involved in Guyana’s oil and gas sector, the Guyana Trades Union Congress is concerned that in many of the contracts being offered to workers, it appears as though the workers are being prevented from joining trade unions.
GTUC General Secretary Lincoln Lewis at a press conference today claimed that in the contract for one of the large companies involved in the oil and gas sector, it specifically states that employees cannot engage with a trade union without the written consent of the company. Lewis said such a clause would be a violation of local labour laws.
“I emphasize that this is a constitutional matter and we are asking the Private Sector Commission to make a pronouncement of the right of workers to join unions of their choice”, Mr. Lewis said.
He added that apart from the Labour Department and the private sector agencies, the GTUC intends to hold the feet of the political leaders in the country “to the fire”.
Lewis said “let all of them tell the people of this country what their clear and unadulterated positions are on workers of this country benefitting from the constitution of this country which, in other circumstances, they so often wave around frantically in pursuit of other causes”.
The veteran trade unionist believes the issue is a worrying one that both the Government and Opposition must work together to fix.
He said the union has also been told of workers being being underpaid and not being paid their benefits.
A few weeks ago, a number of workers attached to one of the companies that has contracts with a major oil company, reached out to News Source to complain about not being properly paid and also being prevented from collecting their certificates for training that they completed.
The Labour Department has also received reports of the concerns of the workers.