Workers’ struggle for rights being reversed under coalition Govt – PPP
Labour Day 2019
…President says workers’ rights “improving”
On the occasion of Labour Day 2019, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) while extending best wishes, also took the Government to task for its track record towards workers, particularly the thousands of sugar workers put out of work after the closure of the sugar estates.
The Party hailed the contributions and effort workers put into improving their conditions in its press statement, but noted that workers are now in trying times made all the more difficult due to declining sectors.
Apart from the sugar industry, the PPP pointed to the mining sector, where it noted that small and medium-scale miners are being forced to leave their profession due to taxes. The Party noted that this, together with several other factors, has increased the cost of production.
In terms of the rice sector, the PPP noted that this has also declined due to the absence of new markets and lack of competitive prices for paddy. The Party also noted that the forestry and commercial sectors have also suffered a decline.
“We in the PPP are aware that the economic and political situation in our country is a matter of deep concern and worry to workers and their families. Workers from every sector and people from all walks of life are apprehensive, not only about their daily existence but more importantly, about their future, their children’s future and the future of our country.”
“Politically, workers are operating in an environment where discrimination is rampant; their rights and freedoms are being trampled upon; the rule of law is under siege and where political witch-hunting and persecution have become institutionalised policies of the Government of the day. We believe that these fears and apprehensions are well founded.”
The Party noted that on this significant day, workers have a chance to rally in solidarity with each other and to further highlight their invaluable contributions towards the development of Guyana.
According to the PPP, workers have scored innumerable victories and radically transformed their working conditions from slavery, indentureship, colonial times to present day. The struggle, the party noted, was long and hard.
“However, in spite of these challenges the PPP is confident in the workers’ ability to overcome while recognising their diligence and daily sacrifices and will continue to stand in solidarity with them while robustly and fearlessly representing their cause,” the Party stated.
In his Labour Day message, however, President David Granger insisted that workers receive a better life under his Government. Here he pointed to minimum wage increases to $64,200 since taking office in 2015.
“Workers, today, are much better off as a result of the sacrifices of their forebears. Legislation, organisations, institutions and services now ensure workers’ rights ? including gender equality and retirement benefits. Improved access to education, health, housing, social protection and public utilities has transformed workers’ lives.”
“The labour movement is urged to continue to work with the Government, Private Sector and civil society to support efforts to generate employment, including self-employment, especially for women and young people.”
According to Granger, Labour Day celebrates the achievements of the working people, recalls their sacrifices and struggles for freedom, food and fair employment. He noted that it is also meant to salute trade unions and their stewardship for the workers’ well-being.
“Your Government remains a friend of workers and of the labour movement. It supports, always, the trade unions’ struggle for a good life for everyone,” the President stated in his Labour Day message.