GCCI President’s Speech at the Guyana Labour Union’s 7th Triennial Delegates Congress.

Guyana Labour Union Speech

by Clinton Urling

It is indeed an honor to offer remarks on behalf of the private sector at the 7th Triennial Delegates Congress.  I am all the more enraptured and captivated when one considers the storied history of the GLU and the fact that it is the oldest union in Guyana. It doesn’t need expounding, but unions have left an indelible mark on Guyana’s economic, social and political history.  For that, we as a nation are immensely indebted to the struggles and victories fetched and carried by the Trade union movement.  Lets all join in a round of applause.

The private sector views the union as our natural partner as we both depend on an important constituency for our survival and that is the Workers and employees all across the length and breath of this country.  Without happy and satisfied workers both the Unions and the private sector would be pointless and ineffective entities. In that sense we both have an obligation to look out for workers interests. Moreover, the Wheel, the Heart and the backbone of commerce and industry are workers. Without them, our businesses, our homes, our communities, and our nation as a whole would simply perish like a fallen fruit from the stem of a tree.

At the opening of the 6th Triennial Congress, then PSC Chairman Ramesh Dookhoo, extolled the virtue of unity and cooperation among the various unions.  I know that significant strides have been made to converge as unions and I hope to see that momentum continue into the future.

I also want to encourage our brothers and sisters in the trade union to meet and work closely with PS organizations to collectively ensure that we craft strategies and policies that support and further the interest of workers.  We need to fully abandon those false and misguided notions that the PS and the Unions are antithetical and inimical to each other.

We both have the common and intertwining role to play when it comes to workers prosperity and development. In particular, in those industries where there is exploitation and underrepresentation.

That is why it is quite disturbing to hear that some in the private sector is ignoring the new minimum wage ordinance and are paying below the specified rate. I would take this opportunity to urge those engaging in such unprincipled and unpatriotic act to desist and I urge our regulators to investigate such cases and take measures to bring those in breach into conformity with the laws of our dear land.

I want to congratulate the Guyana Labour Union on its achievement of its 7th Triennial Delegates Congress and I wish you much success over the coming days as you articulate a comprehensive vision in advancing workers’ interest in Guyana. Thank you and good evening.