The major trade unions in Guyana have decided to begin working closer with each other in an effort to tackle and deal with several of the problems affecting the Guyanese working class.
As labour week approaches, the Guyana Trades Union Congress and the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana have been meeting and examining several issues including how best to improve the socio-economic well being of workers and respect for and improvement in the labour laws.
Other unions that are not affiliated to the two main trade union bodies have also been meeting to put together a more united front.
At a Monday midday press conference, General Secretary of the GTUC, Lincoln Lewis made it clear that the unions will always look out for the best interest of the workers. He said as Guyana celebrates its 50th year of Independence, the trade unions are mindful of the contributions that they would have made to the “struggle” for independence and the ongoing struggle.
Asked whether the labour climate has improved under the coalition government, Lewis would only say that he is disappointed that the new government did not see it fit to allow Labour to have its own Ministry rather than to fall under the Ministry of Social Protection.
“Social Protection is a part of labour not the other way around”, Lewis said, as he reminded that it is important for a Minister of the Government to carry the title of labour because of the important role that labour plays in the development of the nation.
He said he has not assessed the government’s performance of labour issues but would like it to focus on adding labour to a Ministerial department.
The former Ministry of Labour now falls under the Ministry of Social Protection. The Junior Minister of Social Protection has responsibility for labour.
The trade unions are working on several activities to mark this year’s labour week observances. A united May Day rally is among the expected celebrations.