Labour Day 2022: Workers will reap benefits from Guyana’s development – Pres Ali

– describes workers as “backbone to our economy”

– Norton says workers played their role in transforming Guyana

On the occasion of Labour Day, President Dr Irfaan Ali has assured workers that they, along with the country, will reap benefits from Guyana’s transformational development and that they will not be left behind.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

In his Labour Day message to the nation, President Ali described workers as “the backbone of our economy”. According to him, Guyana owes an “eternal debt” to workers and their Unions, which have as a whole played a major role in the improvement of the condition of the working class and he made it clear that they will benefit from the transformation.
“Our vision for workers’ development is holistic and broad-based. We are firmly rooted to the working class. We want the national workforce to enjoy increased and better opportunities. We are courting increased investment so as to create more jobs,” the President explained.
“The new economy will provide the resources for improving social services and human development. Every working class family will be afforded the opportunity to own their own home and have access to potable water, electricity, and sanitation services. We will work assiduously to ensure the best possible healthcare.”
According to the President, Guyana is being refashioned in every way… from its economy to its provision of services such as education. President Ali noted that his Government is not unmindful of the hardships the workers face, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
“This is why we have been adopting measures to increase workers’ take-home income, cushion the effects of price increases, provide relief to households, make housing loans and construction more affordable for low-income earners and remove the onerous taxation burdens previously imposed on citizens,” the President said.

Opposition Leader and PNCR Leader Aubrey Norton

According to him, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) is playing its part in protecting workers’ rights, including providing wage and non-wage benefits and its reinstatement of the Ministry of Labour. At the same time, he warned about workers’ unity being undermined from within.
“Workers’ unity, unfortunately, is being imperilled by the ongoing divisions in our trade union movement. Discord within and between unions will only add to the disunity. The fissures within the trade union movement can only be mended by addressing their root causes,” he said.
“I look forward to working with the trade union movement, in a spirit of respect rather than rancour, hope rather than hostility and cooperation instead of confrontation. This is necessary if there is to be greater success in navigating global recovery.”
Nor are the elderly forgotten. According to the President, his Government is also committed to providing for Guyana’s retirees and elderly so that, after their working days are over, they can enjoy a dignified existence.

Meanwhile, People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Leader Aubrey Norton commemorated the occasion and paid tribute to the workers, who he noted have played their role in transforming Guyana, especially during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today, as was specially identified, is the day to celebrate you our workers as the creators and turners of the wheels of this economy and to recognise the efforts of your labour. From factory to factory, from field to field, from office to office, the labour of your hands has indeed transformed our country especially during the height of the pandemic and without a doubt kept us safe.”
“It is a fact that without labour, there can be no prosperity or growth. As a philosopher once said, “Labour is what brings the difference in everything, so it’s evident that labour is the game changer of all progress.”
Norton also paid tribute to the Father of Trade Unionism in Guyana, Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow. According to the Opposition Leader, Critchlow fought relentlessly to secure the benefits that so many workers enjoy today.
“You would indeed recall the uncertainties and disruptions to our lives over the last eighteen or more months. Nonetheless, we are here a strong, dynamic and resilient group of people who have continued to turn the wheels of production with the hope of being able to secure a better way of life for all peoples of this great land of ours.”
“Finally, I wish to thank every worker for their unwavering dedication, love and commitment to this country and to say that as a result of your being steadfast and resolute we can achieve much,” Norton said.