Labour code published
Stabroek News
February 10, 2004

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Guidelines to manage industrial disputes as well as duties of labour sector personnel have been published in what has been described as a labour code for Guyana.

The System of Industrial Relations in Guyana, a booklet by International Labour Organisation (ILO) Consul-tant Samuel J. Goolsarran, was launched recently at the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security.

Speaking at the launching, Minister of Labour, Dr Dale Bisnauth said the booklet was an intended labour code for Guyana that can provide an easy reference for officials, but is no substitute for the laws of Guyana.

Goolsarran, a senior specialist on industrial relations and labour administration, examines the current industrial relations tools and facilities available for the effective management of labour related bodies and institutions in Guyana. The booklet begins by giving the reader an idea of the legislation into which labour issues are grouped including ratified ILO conventions and regional and other international instruments on labour matters.

In his foreword, Bisnauth described it as invaluable and compulsory reading for industrial relations officers. Chapter three focuses on collective bargaining and dispute settlement, looking at the current representation procedures and dispute resolution machinery. The chapter shows the representation procedure that should be followed when a union member raises a question relating to conditions of service. It looks as well at the conciliation and mediation processes and highlights when these procedures are necessary for dispute settlement.

Chapter four addresses what offices, institutions and bodies were established under the various acts and explains how the various pieces of legislation related to labour affect the rules of operation and responsibilities of the minister, permanent secretary, chief labour officer and chief occupational safety and health officer.

Goolsarran, who is employed with the ILO Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, said that this booklet on labour was long in coming; the Labour Minister requested it since last year and he wanted to hand it over personally.

He said the book was done with Guyana in mind and was intended to help principally labour administrators, and persons active in labour. He said the intention was to capture in one document all systems that guide industrial relations in Guyana. It drew from the constitution and all labour conventions ratified by Guyana.

Carvil Duncan of the Guyana Trades Union Congress noted that the contents of the book are in keeping with normal labour requirements. Executive Director of the Consultative Associa-tion of Guyanese Industry (CAGI) David Yankana said the booklet is a compendium of labour laws and international conventions. Several relevant labour laws are summarised towards the end including the Trade Unions Act: Cap. 98:03; The Labour Act: Cap. 98:01; and the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act.