Favourable labour conditions paramount in sustaining oil sector – PM

…foreign oil companies updated on hiring conditions, hiring policies

Companies operating in the oil and gas sector have been charged again to guarantee best practices in the employment and conditions of work for Guyanese.

Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips

The Labour Ministry on Friday facilitated an engagement with 86 foreign companies operating in Guyana’s oil and gas sector to discuss conditions of work, occupational safety and health requirements, and employment exchange services.

A section of the gathering

Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips used his platform to highlight that the thousands of jobs offered in the sector must not be void of regulations and safety practices – a factor which his Government is closely monitoring. Such glitches, he identified, would affect the sustainability of operations for these companies.
“We are well aware of the capital-intensive nature of oil production but the process would be incomplete without reliance on labour input. Even with the development of thousands of jobs for Guyanese people comes the necessity to ensure that the conditions under which they work and overall industrial relations are favourable if we are to sustain our oil and gas sector.”
“Our Government believes that concerns such as sufficient renumeration, favourable conditions, mutual respect and consideration for workers’ rights and access to other resources concerning their employment are paramount to ensuring that our people are comfortable, productive and safe,” he told operators.
With direct responsibility for oversight of healthy employee-employer relations in keeping with the country’s labour laws, he outlined that the Ministry of Labour must continually ensure compliance.
“Moreover, there must sustained initiatives to promote positive, mutually-beneficial relationships among stakeholders in the oil and gas sector. Undeniably, skills and characteristics within the oil and gas sector are distinct and call for massive occupational health and safety standards,” Phillips underscored.
While the Local Content Policy will ensure equal access for opportunities, the PM pointed to the new Local Content Secretariat being created to allow for the efficient operationalisation of this legislation.
The Prime Minister said Government has the rights of workers as an utmost priority, along with ensuring that development which benefits citizens are closely managed.
“A trademark of the PPP/Civic Administration is its dedication to the citizens of Guyana, the working class people of Guyana. With the wellbeing of our workers high on the list of considerations, my Government sought to re-establish the Ministry of Labour in its return to office. Addressing the concerns of workers must be given concentrated attention.”
He added, “As an oil and gas producing nation, the benefits for Guyana’s people are tenfold. Our rapidly growing oil and gas industry will ensure Guyana’s energy security while lowering energy costs. It will encourage greater investments in all sectors, bring improved infrastructure and economic opportunities, and support the development of thousands of new jobs.”
Further to that, the Prime Minister called attention to the fact that the Government would have re-established the Ministry of Labour upon assuming office in August 2020, and it will now play a major role in the sector. This includes the monitoring of workers’ rights, increasing human development and capacity building.
He noted that as a Government it is important that the Administration works closely with these oil and gas companies so that there can be compliance, growth and benefits for all parties. The International Labour Organisation, and Unions were also part of the forum.
Ministerial Advisor, Gillian Burton-Persaud assured that the focus is to work in the interest of not only employees, but their employers. She said such seminars play a role in establishing a level playing field in the intricacies surrounding labour, in having little to no disgruntlement once operations commence.
Guyana, with US oil giant ExxonMobil as the operator, began producing oil on December 20, 2019 in the Stabroek Block.
Only last month, Exxon announced two new oil discoveries in the oil rich Stabroek Block, which has more than 10 billion barrels of recoverable resource estimated.
These recent oil finds were in the Fangtooth-1 and Lau Lau-1 wells in the Stabroek Block, bringing its number of discoveries in the Block to 27. According to the US oil giant, Fangtooth-1 had 164 feet of oil reservoir, while the Lau Lau-1 well had 315 feet of oil reservoir. (G12)

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