Government has warned foreign investors to respect and comply with this country’s labour laws or face the consequences.
Recently, inspectors of the Ministry of Labour were in Bartica for three days of inspections. It was found that over 20 per cent of the business population there are not from Guyana with many of the persons claiming that they are unable to speak English.
According to Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir, this is a major challenge for the labour industry. Translators will accompany the Ministry’s team during future inspections, Nadir said in an interview afterwards.
He issued a word of caution to foreigners engaged in business that they have to heed the country’s labour laws. If they fail to comply, action will be taken against them.
“This is to ensure that anyone doing business in Guyana comply with all of our laws and my particularly concern is complying with the Occupational, Safety and Health law, you are not exempt from scrutiny if we do not get cooperation and compliance,” Minister Nadir said.
The Labour Ministry will vigorously pursue compliance of its Occupational, Safety and Health laws to ensure workers’ safety and that no one is exempt, he stressed.
It is a widely known fact that quite a few local businesses would routinely hire underaged workers and commit all kinds of labour practice breached, including the hiring of underage employees. Coupled with this are the poor working conditions that face employees.
Quite a number of deaths due to poor working practices have been recorded in the interior, especially.
Last April, legislation was passed catering for protecting workers’ rights, actions by the Government to strengthen the rights of workers; the recognition of the rights and need by workers and managers to sit at the same table.
“The welfare of employees is significant and so it is important that businesses are made aware of labour, occupation and safety and health laws. They ought to know that labour officers have a right to check and to ensure they comply with the laws,” Nadir said.
Labour inspections are conducted countrywide by the Ministry’s Labour, Occupational, Safety and Health Officers with the aim of ensuring that businesses comply with Labour Laws.
Nadir noted that all Labour officers have the authority to enter and inspect any business, to ensure compliance with the Labour Laws. Quarries, sawmills, stores and fabrication and mechanic shops are among the most targeted.
The OS&H laws cater for holiday with pay act records, wages records, shop act, which caters for seating accommodation and safety hazards.
Government over the years has been making it easier for employees’ rights to be protected as Guyana progresses in the enforcement of legislations to protect workers’ rights.
Employees of the Ministry of Labour have been visiting a number of businesses countrywide in an effort to sensitize of the Labour Laws.
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