The Guyana government plans to overhaul the Tripartite Committee and use it to push social dialogue in decision-making, Minister of Social Protection Volda Lawrence announced Wednesday.
The Tripartite Committee was inherited by the current administration which won elections four months ago.
Lawrence announced that the chairmanship of the committee would be rotated among government, employers and the labour representatives. “Social dialogue, which is central to every decision taken at every political and economic level of our society, will have a chairmanship that is rotational in the national tripartite committee, thereby giving more balanced views of all concerned,” she said Wednesday at the opening of the National Bipartite Meeting on Challenges to Cariforum Labour, Private Sector and Employers to fulfill their Economic Partnership Agreement obligations
She assured that government’s policies would be hinged on social dialogue, partly with the aim of ensuring there is no industrial unrest. “Guyana can ill-afford to have a work-environment beset by conflicts and confrontations. It is the will of the government to encourage inclusion, consultative participation and transparency,” said Lawrence.
The Minister of Social Protection hopes that the Tripartite Social Dialogue would be built on trust and cooperation rather than politicisation. “The success of this initiative is dependent on the elimination of political partisan culture and replacement with consensus and cooperation,” she said.
Priorities include the crafting of a national labour policy, establishment of an Industrial Tribunal, enhancement of decent work, promotion of ‘green jobs’, transparency and accountability.
Against the background of recent criticisms that there is now no Ministry of Labour, the Minister of Social Protection assured that the labour laws would be adhered to and enforced to deal with unscrupulous employers and safety nets would be provided to enhance their skills. “It is this government’s intention to ensure that there is full participation and involvement of all three social partners,” she said.
Lawrence said the National Tripartite Committee would meet once monthly to discuss Guyana’s political, social and economic situation. Those issues include globalization, the Caribbean Community’s Single Market and Economy, production, the role of the public and private sectors against the background of government’s involvement, employment policies, HIV and AIDS, child labour, human resource development, migrant labour and trafficking in persons.
The Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry (CAGI) said Social Partnership would be successful only if there is political will as has been the case in Ireland and Barbados where there have been minimal industrial and political unrest. “Success in the mutual outcome of national dialogue also requites national committment and national political will, and the full committment if private sector and workers and their organisations, and civil society,” said CAGI’s Consultant Adviser.
He highlighted the special roles that the National Assembly, government, private sector and workers’ organisations must play in together ensuring social and economic growth.
In the tripartite system, CAGI represents the employers.