The Guyana government on Thursday distanced itself from talk of a ban on night work by female security guards, saying the idea was never taken to Cabinet.
“As far as the government is concerned we have had no debate on the matter. The senior Minister of Social Protection in that regard would have to bring a paper to Cabinet and Cabinet will have to debate on it.
Until such time that that occurs the situation remains as it is and that is to say that women will continue to work either day or night and there is no restriction on them”, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon was quoted as saying n a statement issued by his office. The Senior Minister of Social Protection is Volda Lawrence.
Junior Minister of Social Protection responsible for Labour, Keith Scott, had suggested that steps be taken to minimise or control the level of night workto which women are exposed in line with the need to create a decent work programme.
Scott’s view days later put him on a collision course with the Guyana Association of Private Security Organisations (GAPSO).
The Minister of State said the Minister of Social Protection is responsible for the protection of all Guyanese including women, and he said there was no problem with concerns being expressed about the condition under which women work at night.
He however made it clear that there is no policy position approved by Cabinet where there is to be a ban on any females working in security services at night.
Minister Harmon has instead indicated that Government is calling on security companies to acknowledge and recognize that there are special conditions under which women should work and therefore those facilities for women should also be acknowledged and recognized by security firms. “There is no restriction on their right to work, what we will ask and we will insist is that the employers who employ women must ensure the conditions under which they work that they provide for the special arrangements which have to do with women in the workforce.”
The Minister of State added too that Government is always opened to advice as he stressed that the rights of workers must always be protected in the actual payment which they receive for the work that they do; he noted too that “these persons national insurance contributions must be paid. So there is an obligation on the part of the employer and an obligation on the part of the employee.”
Minister Harmon said that the State will provide the legislative and regulatory framework within which that relationship between employer and employee exists.