Mar 08, 2013 News
….AFC to engage body
By Zena Henry
The Alliance for Change (AFC) has decided to engage concerned persons on a proposal to convene a special committee for trade unions. After being approached by the General Secretary of ‘The People United and General Workers Union (PU&GWU),’ Micah Williams, who initiated the idea, AFC General Secretary David Patterson, said that the party will soon meet with the union to discuss what was considered a ‘favourable and seemingly feasible proposal.’
Patterson said that the party has already confirmed its willingness to earnestly look at the document that indicates the special committee playing the part of compiling the plights of the working class through the existing unions and bringing it to Parliament for review, in an effort to regularly upgrade workers’ rights and legislation for their protection.
Williams, whose union represents the non-management employees of Oldendorff Carriers Guyana Inc., requested in his letter that Parliamentarians pass a “Motion that will provide for the establishment of a special committee that will propose to the Parliament new legislation that will allow all trade Unions in Guyana to represent the working class people (Union Members) before the National Assembly.”
He said the union strongly believes that the implementation of the committee will help to strengthen commerce, trade and economic development while enhancing the welfare of workers.
In that light, the committee, according to Williams would be responsible for “reviewing employment laws, rules and regulations that would affect the workers and further recommend changes to harmful trade union legislation.”
The Committee would further advocate for the new or improved trade Union laws to be implemented into the constitution of Guyana.
According to Williams, the Committee would also “Receive complaints, and carry out investigations of trade Unionrkers Unionle of guyana( of Guyana matters and/or grievances and give recommendation(s) or resolutions to the Parliament that will address the complaints, matters/grievance affecting the Trade Unions and our workers.”
Williams insisted that there are several reasons why the special committee is needed, and that is why he has forwarded the information to President Donald Ramotar, Head of the Presidential Secretariat Roger Luncheon, Leader of the Opposition and A Partnership for National Unity head, David Granger and AFC MPs, Khemraj Ramjattan and Trevor Williams.
He said Parliamentary recognition of the Committee would see a fully constituted Council that would ensure that all trade unions have a governing body that has the capacity to transform the union movement. It would be better able to function in relation to worker protection, welfare, development and improvement within the ambits of the law.
Williams charged that the appointment would go a long way in seeing that the rights of citizens are respected and ensure that all companies operating in Guyana respect the said laws, regulations and rights.
The PU&GWU General Secretary said that as a matter of urgency, the relevant authorities should pay keen attention to the worthiness of the proposal, while giving it meaningful thought. He charged that the authorities should seek to engage the union and consider the proposal with a genuine outlook of approving it, “…as to ignore the issue would be a sign of being anti-union.”
So far, Williams said the AFC has expressed its willingness to meet and discuss the ideas of the union, while APNU has also made contact, highlighting its acknowledgement of the request and receipt of the letter.
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