PNCR MAY DAY MESSAGE, 2009--PRESS RELEASE Thursday 30 April 2009

Labour Day is a special occasion for workers in Guyana and the rest of the world. It is a time when they should be able to celebrate the consolidation of their rights, increased wages and benefits, improved working conditions, the protection of pension rights and the general progress of the labour movement. However, May Day 2009 sees the workers without any of these gains. Moreover, they are forced to live on miserly wages, as the Jagdeo Administration has turned its back on the working class and continue to ignore the poor and the powerless. The workers of Guyana will therefore have to take stock of this parlous situation and formulate plans and programmes to ensure the revitalisation of the movement and its independence.

In accessing the current situation, the Workers and Unions of Guyana must never forget that greed, incompetence and lack of genuine concern of the PPP/C and Jagdeo Administration have all contributed to the corporate failure of CLICO and jeopardizing the retirement benefits of thousands of workers of this nation. Also, the workers would do well to remember the fragile state of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) which has resulted from the mismanagement of the Jagdeo Administration. Not to be forgotten also is the deliberate policy of encouraging trade unions aligned to the PPP to poach on the preserve of more independent unions in order to marginalize and destroy them.

More particularly, the workers must not forget that since acceding to Government in 1992, the PPP/C Government has been attempting to introduce and pass laws in Parliament designed to intimidate members of the labour movement and undermine the recognised trade union body, the Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) and have it replaced by the so-called Federation of Independent Trade unions (FITUG). We urge the workers to resist such a course of action because if this happens the Jagdeo Administration will be able to dominate the trade unions and extinguish its independence.

The PNCR will continue to encourage and assure all the workers and unions that the right to strike is not negotiable for it is guaranteed by Article 147 of the Constitution of Guyana. Let it be clear to all genuine members of the labour movement in Guyana that it would require unity of purpose to successfully defend their rights.

As we celebrate this May Day, let the workers and leaders of the labour movement of Guyana resolve to focus on the best interest of their members and strengthening the movement for the challenges of the future.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Thursday 30 April 2009