The Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes, met with officials of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) and workers’ representatives as part of an ongoing dialogue between Government and the union to discuss industrial relations matters with regards to the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) on August 11.
The meeting took place in the Boardroom of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Upper Brickdam, Georgetown.
Officials present at the meeting were Gregory Gaspar, Branch Chairman of GPSU Branch No. 72; Sandrene Abrams, Floor Member GPSU Branch No. 72; Dennis English, GPSU, Unata De Freitas, the GGMC/GPSU workers’ representative and Beatrice Roberts-Austin, GGMC/GPSU Branch Secretary.
At the meeting, Minister Broomes reiterated her commitment to good industrial relations between the Ministry and the workers.
“I am committed to working with you even when we disagree. You the workers are the most important pillars in the Ministry as you are the ones to implement policy,” she stressed.
Minister Broomes said that even though there will be disagreements between the Ministry and the Union over industrial relations matters, there will be a “culture of respect that is going to be upheld”.
She vowed to embrace the principles of good labour relations in accordance of all labour conventions that Guyana has signed on to. She said she also wants to see a departure from situations just a few years ago, when workers of the GGMC felt it necessary to take to the streets in protest.
The Minister said that it is her vision that the Ministry of Natural Resources become an example of stellar labour relations with its employees and those of the agencies which fall under it. “We can be a model for other Ministries to show what decent labour relations could be.”
Minister Broomes noted that regarding commitments for 2015, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman already signed off on the workers’ payout for last year.
While there had been conclusion on matters related to increases for 2013 and 2014, matters concerning the year 2015 were not concluded until recently, with an announcement of a month and a half salary award for 2015.
“This shows that from the highest level there is no intention to stymie the process or withhold anything from the workers.”
However, she said that for this mutual respectability to thrive and prosper, all sides must live up to their responsibility.
Noting that they must together raise the bar of workers’ awareness of their obligations as well as their rights, Minister Broomes said, “I am happy that going forward we will be continuing that dialogue. We must not only meet when we have a problem but we must continue to have dialogue.”
She then called on the union to be the bridge between the Ministry and the workers so that all are aware of their rights and equally aware of their responsibilities and obligations.
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