“Upset and outraged” that many employers are allegedly refusing to pay their workers the minimum wage, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) planned to take them to the government.
“From certain security services to liquor restaurants FITUG will forward complaints to the Ministry of Labour and expects swift prosecution of these rabid violators,” the union body said in a statement. No specific entity was named.
FITUG, however, maintained that it was a “verifiable fact” that too many employers were violating workers’ rights by refusing to pay what is legally due to them. “Refusal to pay the many low-income workers even the new minimum wage is capitalistic and virulently anti-working-class,” the confederation said.
The Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the Private Sector Commission (PSC) had earlier this year expressed concern about the financial implications and timing of the new Minimum Wage Order. Government has maintained that the new rates of pay and hours of work were arrived at after extensive consultations and adequate notice.
FITUG noted that the minimum wage was applicable to all workers of Guyana with the Schedule to the Order listing more than sixty (60) categories of workers but not limited to those only.
The order states that the minimum rate of wage payable to every person employed in Guyana shall be not less than GUY$202 per hour or GUY$1,616, or GUY$8,080 per week or GUY$35,000 per month as the case may be.
Even if a worker is earning more than minimum wage at the the commencement of the order, the employer shall continue to pay to that worker wages at such higher rate and not to reduce the rate on account of this Order.
The normal work week shall be 40 hours and shall not exceed five days per week. Any hours of work beyond the normal hours shall at a minimum be paid at the rates set out in the Labour (Conditions of Employment of Certain Workers) Act No. 18 of 1978, the factories Act, Cap 95:02, or any other law or any collective bargaining agreement in force where workers are represented by a Trade Union.”
FITUG’s members are the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), Guyana Labour Union (GLU), National Association of Agricultural Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) and the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU).