Labour Day 2015 activities saw candidates from A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) slate, lambast the government for its years of failure towards the public sector.
They were also critical of its refusals to adhere to public servants’ concerns. APNU+AFC will bring Guyana’s first labour government in years, they pledged.
The annual Labour Day rally saw public servants from different sectors piling into the Critchlow Labour College auditorium, to hear the addresses of their union leaders. With General and Regional elections only 10 days away, close attention was paid to the political candidates and what they intended for Guyana.
Declaring that an APNU+AFC Government would be one of National Unity, Prime Ministerial candidate Moses Nagamootoo also promised to return subvention to the Critchlow Labour College, as well as the right to collective bargaining which had been removed by former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The removal of subvention from the College by former President Bharrat Jagdeo had a disastrous effect on the institution. It was forced to close its doors for several months at one point, due to the lack of funds.
The Government’s explanation at the time was that, the subventions being granted to the institution were not being accounted for.
Nagamootoo also promised a return to the days of genuine partnership between his party and the trade unions. He expounded on the many ‘injustices’ committed by the Government towards the working class of Guyana.
He spoke of the need for the work force and Guyanese at large, to vote for a government that truly has the plight of the working class at heart.
“Historians must write that these were the 10 days that shook Guyana. That these were the ten days that made those, who denied you justice, tremble. They must feel your power and they must feel your disappointment at their betrayal of all the lofty ideals that (Hubert) Critchlow, (Cheddi) Jagan and (Forbes) Burnham had for a united and prosperous Guyana.”
Presidential candidate of the APNU+AFC Brigadier (R’td) David Granger also lashed out at the government. He accused it of turning a deaf ear to the cries of the working class, while doling out ‘measly’ increases each year.
“After that brilliant strike of 1999, they never sat down with the unions. Every year they say to the working class; tek this freck…tek this freck. Every year you complain and the next year they do the same thing.”
He promised to stand behind the unions and ensure the restoration of collective bargaining, to ensure that Public servants could get a livable wage.
President of the Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) Lincoln Lewis also issued a strong warning to the Guyanese public, reminding them that the ordinary people are the government’s bosses and that they hold the power to get rid of the Government if they have done a poor job.
Lewis stated that, instead of working for the people of Guyana, the PPP/C has rather worked for its own ends. Lewis emphasized that the Government has not performed according to their job description
“We are the PPP/C’s employers and they do not qualify for re-employment. They have failed. We do it all the time with our workers. If they do a poor job, they are sent away to improve their skills.”
Stating that the PPP/C has not only practiced corruption for monetary gain, but has practiced corruption of history, he condemned the perceived ‘distortions’ of Guyana’s political past emanating from the PPP/C’s camp.
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