Latest update May 27th, 2023 12:27 AM
Mar 03, 2023 Letters
It would be appreciated if you kindly publish this letter, calling attention for the observance of international labour conventions as part of Guyana’s labour laws, particularly at this time with the establishment of many new foreign and local companies in Guyana. It is the responsibility of Government’s Ministry of Labour and state agencies, Trade Unions and their organizations, and Employers and their organizations to observe in practice the requirements of international labour conventions ratified by the Government of Guyana since 1966 when it became of Member of the UN International Labour Organization.
The International Labour Conventions of the UN International Labour Organisation ratified by Guyana, are integrally part of in Guyana’s Labour policy. Guyana has international treaty obligations to bring its laws and practice (where this has not been done already) in line with all ratified Conventions and to honour the obligations of its membership in keeping with the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation. The following ratified Conventions address the fundamental principles and rights at work; employment and decent income; social protection; and tripartism and social dialogue.
Convention No. 29 – Forced Labour 1930: Calls for the suppression of the use of all forms of forced or compulsory labour except for five categories of work under certain conditions and guarantees – compulsory military service, certain civic obligations, prison labour, work in case of emergency, and minor communal services.
Convention No. 87: Freedom of Association and Protection of right to organize, 1948: Provides for workers’ and employers’ right, freely exercised to form and join organizations of their own choosing to further and defend their interests.Such organizations have the right to write their own constitutions and rules, elect their representatives or executives, administer and manage their own programme of activities without restriction and interference by public authorities in the lawful exercise of these rights.
Convention No. 98 – Right to organize and collective bargaining, 1949: Calls for adequate protection for unions exercising their right to organize, and the promotion of voluntary collective bargaining to regulate terms and conditions of employment. This convention does not deal with the position of civil servants; they are given these same rights under Convention No. 151.
Convention No. 100 – Equal Remuneration, 1951: This Convention requires the application of principle of equal remuneration for women and men for work of equal value. It defines equal remuneration for work of equal value as remuneration established without discrimination based on sex, and which requires objective appraisal of jobs based on the work to be performed, as one of the means of giving effect to this Convention with the co-operation of employers’ and workers’ organizations.
Convention No. 105 – Abolition of forced labour, 1957: Calls for the prohibition of the recourse to forced or compulsory labour in any form in the following defined cases as a means of political coercion or education; mobilizing labour for purposes of economic development; as a means of labour discipline; as punishment for participating in strikes; and as a means of racial, social, national, or religious discrimination.
Convention 111 – Discrimination (Employment and Occupation),1958: The Convention requires the promotion of equality of opportunity and treatment in relation to employment and occupation and calls on states to declare and pursue a national policy designed to eliminate all forms of discrimination;defines discrimination as any distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin affecting equality of opportunity or treatment in employment and occupation; and covers access to vocational training, employment, and terms and conditions of employment.
Convention No. 138 – Minimum Age, 1973: The Convention calls for the abolition of child labour and emphasizes that school is for children, not work, (normally any child under 15 years of age); for the minimum age for employment to be not less than the age of completion of compulsory education (normally not under 15 years);on states to pursue a national policy designed to abolish child labour;on states to progressively raise the minimum age for employment consistent with the full physical and mental development of young persons; states are also called to ensure that the minimum age shall not be less than 18 years for any type of work which is likely to jeopardize the health, safety, or morals (or 16 years under certain conditions of protection of health safety or morals, with adequate and specific instructions or vocational training) of young persons, the representative social partners having been consulted.
Convention No. 182 – The Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999: The Convention is applicable to all persons under 18 years of age, and requires ratifying states to take effective and immediate measures to prohibit and eliminate as a matter of urgency the worst forms of child Labour defined as “All forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; The use, in procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances; The use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs; “Work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children” (Article 3).
This Convention further calls for international cooperation among states in eliminating the worst forms of child labour; effective measures to implement and enforce the provisions of the Convention; the recognition of the importance of education in eliminating child labour; and special measures to identify and reach out to children at risk, and to take account of the special situation of girls.
Convention No. 151 – Labour Relations (Public Service)1978: Provides for the protection of public employees’ right to organize and collective bargaining, procedures for dispute settlement through negotiations, conciliation, mediation, and arbitration. (This Convention confers similar rights flowing from Convention No. 98).
Convention No. 94 – Labour Clauses (Public Contracts), 1948: This Convention requires minimum labour standards in the execution of public contracts involving expenditure of public funds awarded by central government authorities to contractors for the carrying out of any public work.This Convention alsoprovides for measures to ensure fair and reasonable conditions of health, safety, and welfare for workers, for a system of labour inspections, sanctions for breaches, and for measures to ensure that workers receive wages to which they are entitled.These conditions are also applicable to sub-contractors.
Convention No. 172 – Working Conditions (Hotels and Restaurants),1991: This Convention applies to workers employed within hotels, restaurants and similar establishments providing food, beverages, or both, and provides for basic conditions of work. Ratifying states agree to adopt and apply, in a manner appropriate to national law, conditions and practice, a policy designed to improve the working conditions of workers in this sector; and ensure that the workers concerned are not excluded from any minimum national standards including social security benefits for workers in general.
Convention No. 150 – Labour Administration, 1978: This Social Policy Convention calls for an effective system of labour administration whose functions and responsibilities are properly coordinated with the participation of workers and employers and their organizations. The functions and responsibilities include national labour policy and labour standards; industrial and labour relations including social dialogue and tripartism; labour and OSH inspections; employment, manpower planning, and employment services; research, labour statistics, and HRD; and regional and international affairs.
Convention No. 81 – Labour Inspection, 1947and Convention 55– Occupational Safety and Health. These Conventions together provide for a system of regular labour and safety inspections of commercial, industrial, and agricultural workplaces and undertakings. The inspections are intended to secure the enforcement of legal provisions relating to conditions of work and the protection of employees.These Conventions also deal with the organization, structure, and functioning of inspection services; the responsibility of the central authority; and the functions of labour inspectors, for effective inspection services in industrial, commercial, and agricultural undertakings.
Convention No. 144 – Tripartite Consultation (International Labour Standards), 1976: This Convention calls for effective and meaningful consultation among the representatives of government, employers and trade unions on international labour standards and related matters. Specifically, under this Convention, tripartite consultations are required on items on the agenda for the annual International Labour Conference; consideration and submission of ILO conventions and recommendations to the competent authority with appropriate recommendations; re-examination of conventions, and recommendations for appropriate action; reports on ratified conventions, and other reports to the ILO; and proposals, if any, for denunciation of ratified conventions.
Convention No. 149 – Nursing Personnel, 1977: This Convention concerns employment and conditions of work and life of all categories of nursing personnel providing nursing care and nursing services wherever they work. Ratifying states are required to adopt and apply, within national context, a policy concerning nursing services and nursing personnel, to promote the quantity and quality of nursing care necessary for the highest possible level of health for the population; and provide appropriate education and training, employment, working conditions, career prospects and remuneration that are likely to attract and retain nursing personnel in line with the conditions set out in this Convention.
Convention No. 155 -Occupational Safety and health, 1981. This Convention requires a coherent policy of occupational safety, and occupational health and the working environment. This Convention applies to all branches of economic activity and to all workers including the public service employees and requires the enactment of appropriate laws and regulations.
Regional and Other International Instruments on Labour Matters
As a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Guyana is committed and obligated to observe the labour policies of CARICOM as set out in its Charter of Civil Society, and its Declaration of Labour and Industrial Relations Principles, 1999.
Article XIX of the Charter of Civil Society provides for the right and protection of every worker tofreely belong to and participate in trade union activities;negotiate and bargain collectively;be treated fairly at the workplace, and to enjoy a safe, hygienic, and healthy working environment;reasonable remuneration, working conditions, and social security; andto utilize/established machinery for the effective conduct of labour relations.
CARICOM Declaration of Labour and Industrial Relations Principles outlines the general labour and industrial relations policy to which the CARICOM states aspire. The Declarationreflects ILO Labour standards (Conventions and Recommendations). These standards relate tofreedom of association, collective bargaining, non-discrimination in employment and occupation, employment policy, labour administration, industrial dispute settlement, consultation, and tripartism.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 of the United Nations, Article 23 states that everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment; Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work; Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection; Everyone has the right to form and join trade unions for the protection
Samuel J. Goolsarran
No contracts cast in stone, except Norton and Jagdeo own!
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