Sep 13, 2019 News Comments Off on Trade unions should combine forces – Minister Scott
Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott, has opined that in order for there to be future success of trade unions within Guyana, these unions should adapt and combine their forces.
Some of Guyana’s trade unions include the Guyana Labour Union (GLB); Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU); General Workers Union (GWU); Guyana Local Government Officers’ Union (GLGO); Guyana Bauxite and General Workers’ Union (GB&GWU); Guyana Postal and Telecommunications Workers’ Union (GPTWU); Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU).
The Minister noted that with businesses in Guyana evolving each day, particularly in technological ways, the local trade unions need to adapt. However, he was keen to note that trade unions “have not kept pace with the new level that employers have gone to.”
Minister Scott went on to say that, “…trade unions now have their backs against the wall. They have failed to keep in touch and abreast with the new era in the way business is being done. We have moved to a stage where you have information technology, robots, artificial intelligence—new ways of doing business. The trade unions have got to find a way to make ways for the technological way of development.”
Currently in Guyana, there are far fewer unions compared to that of the 1940s and 1950s, and Scott shed light on the even earlier history of the man who pushed for trade unionism in Guyana.
“The era when Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow began in 1902 to 1919, to have to fight for the recognition of trade unions, for the recognition that workers must have a voice, had really evolved. Before, they more or less had a partnership approach.”
He was keen to note that within the United States of America, there are far fewer trade unions because “they have more or less amalgamated with each other, so that In-Touch Credit Union (ITCU) and those other unions in America, they are coming and working closer together.”
Dissimilar to the approach taken in the US, Scott noted that, “Guyana still has each union fighting for their own individual territory”.
The Minister believes that a time, and hopefully soon, will come when local unions will recognise that they need to combine their resources to better serve the working population. Furthermore with this amalgamation, unions will find themselves having a more impactful and powerful voice.
When questioned about whether today’s unions are still capable of fighting for their workers, Minister Scott responded, “In the past, employers saw themselves as owners of labour and they exploited labour, and the workers were a little bit more impotent. Later on, with the rise of trade unionism in Guyana, they were able to carve a fantastic history that not only transcended trade unionism but impinged also on the political development of Guyana. That year was important and we can never stop giving them credit for that.”
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