‘The law is for everyone’- Labour Minister makes case for workers’ welfare, safety

Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton speaking at the seminar (Photo: News Room/March 6, 2024)

The intension of the seminar is to the spread awareness on the importance of good practices in workplaces and to get companies to comply with the country’s labour laws and the occupational, health and safety requirements.

According to Hamilton, too often employees are deprived of their rights and cannot take action because they do not possess the requisite documents.

So upon employment, Hamilton is urging employees to demand their contract which outline their obligations as well as benefits.

“Some people say they never had a contract. So why are you working? I expect every employer to make available personally, when they employ people, their contract.

“There are all kinds of things that are happening that should be happening and employees need to pay attention to these matters,” Hamilton said.

And when the laws that govern safety and welfare are not followed, Hamilton said incidents happen at workplaces leaving employees injured or even dead.

In fact, he said for the year so far, “too many people” have died due to recklessness by both employer and employees.

“When you are discussing labour relation matters, both conditions of work and safety and health of workers they must have the same prominence.

“We have to pay attention to our safety and our health at workplaces… this is a national matter, this is a cultural matter that we must change,” Hamilton said.

Nothing that Guyana is open for business, Hamilton further highlighted that expatriate companies will not be allowed to take advantage of Guyanese by creating new working conditions.

“We will not allow any employer to create new conditions… we will have no one imposing on employees of this country… when employees work, we expect employees to pay them,” the labour minister noted.

The seminar is the second of such to be held this year. The first was held in February.