Mar 08, 2013 News
After hours of discussion with Government, the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) was not given any concrete decision that Guyanese will be given the opportunity to be hired during the construction phase of the Marriott Hotel, Kingston.
Winston Brassington, Head of Atlantic Hotel Inc, merely assured the Union that Government will continue to push for the contractor, Shanghai Construction Group (SCG), to hire local
labourers in the construction phase of the US$51M hotel.
Brassington gave this assurance even as he read the clause of the contract that signed away Guyanese rights to work on the project. He said that the contract signed between Government and the contractor provides that the company could import personnel as it sees necessary and work permits will be issued.
In honouring that aspect of the contract, the Chinese construction company, imported all its labourers from China, leaving Guyanese out in the cold. Brassington when questioned by the media did not say how many labourers were brought in from China for the project, but disclosed that there are about 100 Chinese nationals working on site at the moment.
He said that hundreds of jobs will be created after the hotel, nightclub, casino and restaurant are completed. In addition, there will be indirect employment in the economy.
However, the absence of workers during the construction phase was the main contention. Lincoln Lewis, General Secretary of GTUC said that the clause in the contract opened the way for the exclusion of Guyanese labourers. He said that it gave the opening for SCG to import who they wanted to work on the project.
Lewis added that there was no correlation between the Home Affairs Ministry and Immigration to ensure laws were satisfied. He said that the vacancies should have been advertised locally giving citizens who are funding the project an opportunity to gain employment.
But, the general sentiment expressed by the Union is that the deal on the Marriott project has already been cut, and the outcome of this discussion should prevent Guyanese labourers from being excluded from a locally-funded project in the future.
According to Lewis, the Marriott issue is not the only matter of labour contention GTUC has with Government. He made reference to RUSAL where workers are being denied the right to a Union.
He noted that the Union is against Guyanese workers being denied equal opportunities. Lewis said that citizens elected leaders to move the country forward and have greater responsibility to the people.
He noted that it is an indictment on the Government for not providing the essential training needed for a technological world, even after 20 years in office. Had Guyanese been exposed to the requisite training, the excuse of advanced technology could not have been used to exclude local labour force, Lewis opined.
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