Apr 13, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – The Ministry of Labour is currently in the process of updating its human resources and other capacities, in order to deal with issues related to the influx of Venezuelans, Brazilians, Chinese and other expatriates.
Key among these, according to the substantive Minister, Joseph Hamilton, is the need for “equal pay for equal work” for both locals and foreigners.
The Minister made this remark while he was a guest on a panel discussion hosted by the American Chambers of Commerce in Guyana (AmCham). He told panelists that the Ministry is working to ensure that the laws of Guyana are utilised to ensure that employees are paid their fair share while working in the country, regardless of sector.
Addressing the issue of expatriates and migration and their impacts locally, the Minister reiterated that it must be underscored that “more than half of the persons who are considered Guyanese, are not living in Guyana, they are living in another country as migrants.”
He recalled too, there “was a period of time when we flew out to become migrants ourselves in another country.”
Addressing the matter, he divulged that at present, as it relates to neighbouring Venezuela, there are three sets entering into Guyana from that country.
These, he categorised as Guyanese who left decades ago and lived in Venezuela, the children of those migrants, and Venezuelans who are citizens of that country with no Guyanese connections.
As such, he said, “we at the Ministry of Labour, as we look at the matter, we have to look at it holistically yet separately.”
He has since divulged that the Ministry has increased its complement of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Officers in order to deal with matters of labour relations with representatives in each of the 10 administrative regions
Additionally, the Labour Minister noted that the administration has started engagements to ensure that “our OSH officers get foreign language training because they cannot intervene properly on behalf of migrants in the Labour and OSH sphere if they speak English alone.”
As such, the Minister indicated that the OSH Officers will commence language training initially in Spanish, then Portuguese and Mandarin.
The Minister said too, that the Ministry, in its bid to support the integration of migrants into the domestic economy and workforce, will be making available the services of the Board of Industrial Training and the Central Recruitment and Manpower Agencies.
This, he said, is in order to train migrants looking for employment, and to place them with potential employers.
He said, in this regard, the Ministry is looking to “play our part there, to see how we can have migrants engaged to be placed in the work environment, where they are protected,” and pointed to the caveat of ensuring “equal pay for equal work” whether by a foreigner or Guyanese.
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