GTUC withdraws from talks with Minister
over absence of genuine widespread consultationJanuary 7th, 2009 - Business & Economic - Kaieteur News
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GTUC president Gillian Burton
President of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Gillian Burton, yesterday withdrew her organisation from any further talks with Minister of Labour, Manzoor Nadir, as it relates to the proposed amendments in the Trade Union Recognition (Amendment) Bill yesterday.
The GTUC had earlier asked for the meeting to be postponed, citing a need for greater consultation given that the legislation would have far reaching consequences for each public servant in Guyana.
This apparently was denied by the Minister who sought to have an in house discussion which, according to Burton, was not adequate consultation.
She noted that the Minister had clandestinely tried to hurry the Bill through the National Assembly but it was only after staunch opposition by the Alliance for Change, Peoples National Congress Reform and the GTUC that the Speaker of the House caused the Bill to be deferred.
According to Burton, at that time the GTUC was not even in possession of a copy of the legislation. She said that since then, there have been no proper or adequate consultations with the relevant stakeholders.
The GTUC president said that the body was not going to let the situation rest and that all the relevant international organisations will be alerted to the issue.
Burton said she is of the opinion that the passing of the Bill is a move to displace the GTUC.
When you look at the structure, it tells us that despite what we are being told, we have a deep-rooted feeling that it is a move to displace the GTUC and replace it with Federation of Independent Trades Unions of Guyana, Burton recently told this newspaper.
She added that her opinion is further validated by the fact that the Government is fully aware that the International Labour Organization recognises only the GTUC as the organisation which governs labour issues in Guyana, and yet, proper representation is not being allowed.
I say so because, despite the fact that the government is aware that the ILO recognises only the GTUC, for a period of time, we have noted that whenever the Geneva Conference comes up, the government seeks to carry, other than the GTUC representative, a FITUG representative, Burton pointed out.
The Labour Minister on Monday met with FITUG to hold discussions on the legislation.
And according to a Government Information Agency release, Minister Nadir had a meeting with the President and a delegation of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) where the Bill was discussed clause by clause.
They have signalled their comfort with the amendment which we intend to table; we had a pretty decent meeting with FITUG.
It (GINA) reported also in-depth discussions were held with the Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry (CAGI), and they are proposing that we make a very slight amendment to one of the clauses, which I am going to be considering with the legal persons tomorrow and I will also bring it to the attention of Cabinet.
Shadow Labour Minister, Basil Williams, says that the Trade Union Recognition (Amendment) Bill 2008 that was tabled in the National Assembly and up for debate and possibly passage on Monday will undermine the GTUC.
According to Williams, the legislation closely resembles a previous Bill that was tabled by the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) in 2006 and was pulled from the House after being lambasted for its consequences.
Williams said that this time around the only thing that was different was the fact that the language was different and was intended to remove the GTUC from the Trade Unions Representation Certification Process.
He added also that the legislation will marginalize and destroy small unions as well as the aspirations of Hubert Nathaniel Critchlow for a single National Association of Trade Unions.
He posited also that the amendment will seek to repeal sections of the Principal Act which previously guaranteed a role for the GTUC, which according to Williams is the only umbrella body recognized by the International Labour Organisation.Permanent Link | Share this article on: