Many philosophers have asserted that work is the foundation for people and societies to grow and prosper. With a decent income being provided, work can pave the way for broader social and economic advancement, strengthening individuals, their families and communities. Work can fulfil one’s dreams of becoming independent in a variety of ways.
In today’s modern society, globalization and technology have brought people and countries closer together and have transformed the work environment more quickly, more profoundly, and on a greater scale than ever before.
While these changes, especially in the form of computers and smartphones, have invariably improved many lives, there is the fear that while some may benefit greatly from these technological advancements, a majority will not.
But we return to the fundamental issue.
Work has become a major concern, not least at a time when so many countries have high unemployment and a higher percentage of their population are youths.
In Guyana, youths are understandably worried that they are being left behind, because the government is clearly no longer capable of delivering the positive change it had promised. This is one of the more disappointing aspects of our current existence.
Corruption has been lowered somewhat, but it still exists in too many government departments and agencies. Crime also continues to have a negative impact on society. This being the case, there is a strong chance that disruptive criminal forces, if allowed to, can undermine growth and destabilize the country.
We need to urgently improve production in all sectors, expand the job-creating potential of the country, as well as shift to environmental sustainability.
The much-touted process of globalization, must be accompanied by tangible changes that will benefit all in society, because only those who feel safe in the present can welcome a meaningful future. Rather than adopting a wait-and-see approach or remain dependent on other countries for financial aid and loans, we must think seriously about our future development. The policies that are being made today, especially in the energy sector and the country’s involvement in projects like China’s Belt and Road Initiative must be transparent and influenced by absolute need and well-informed societal choices.
The generation of ideas and solutions to address fundamental work-related challenges is urgently needed. We have to bring together all stakeholders: government, employers, the business sector, unions and workers, to tackle the fundamental question of how a rapidly transforming work environment should be organized so that it responds effectively to our core values.
It would be an important part for meeting the United Nations landmark 2030 Agenda goals for Sustainable Development, which in particular, entails promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for anyone interested in having same – which must be all. This initiative is not only for the government to embrace, but indeed, requires a truly national effort. National dialogue is needed to elaborate on the approaches to meet the future challenges in the labour market.
Since independence, governments have tried various methods to create jobs and better working conditions for the people. This was done with the intent to improve lives. There is the popular opinion that the administrations have generally failed in that quest.
By recognizing that the future of work is ours to create, rather than one imposed by forces, which we are powerless to control, we are convinced that the future holds a powerful message of hope. In that spirit, the nation must be committed to focus on concrete solutions, policies and best practices, with the goal of making the future of work a future that includes everyone.
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