The Guyana Trade Union Congress (GTUC) is calling on the Government to ensure that foreign companies adhere to labour laws and agreements when dealing with the rights of workers.The GTUC made this call after the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) refused to pay workers monies deducted from their overtime payments, even thoughGTUC General Secretary, Lincoln Lewisin October of 2016 a decision was made to cease taxing overtime and all premium hours worked.“The fact that Minister Keith Scott wrote management earlier this month advising mechanisms be put in place to return taxes deducted on overtime and all premium hours worked with effect from 1st October 2016 and management continues to ignore this directive sends a strong signal that BCGI is above Government and the laws of our land,” the GTUC said in a statement.GTUC is calling on Government to honour the Constitution that establishes sovereignty over the nation and its workers and hold BCGI accountable for its deviant industrial relations practices that continue to infringe the laws of the land.“There is something troubling with Guyana’s relationship with BCGI that is allowing successive governments to allow the transgressing of the rights of Guyanese labour and the violating of our laws,” it added.The workers’ representative body said the company refuses to meet with officials, and workers are promising industrial action if they are not paid their monies.
…PPP’s 45,000 margin equals 9 seatsEven though the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has filed a no- confidence motion against the Government, the Party believes the coalition’s losses at the Local Government Elections (LGE) are the public’s own vote of no confidence.In an interview with Guyana Times, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo explained that his party has observed the dissatisfaction of the people, and as such, took action as the people’s representatives. “People spoke about this. They’re very dissatisfied, through the election results,” Jagdeo said. “And we’re just bringing that dissatisfaction, their voice, to the National Assembly, to say to the Government we’re dissatisfied with the direction the country is going in.”“So win or lose, the country will benefit from this. Because it will force this Government to sit up and take notice that we are unhappy with the visionless policies that they’re practising and that they’re harming our future,” he added.Jagdeo had first announced the no-confidence motion during his Thursday press conference right after it was clear that the people had repudiated the coalition Government. The next day, the scheduled sitting of the National Assembly was abruptly cancelled at Government’s request and the Opposition turned up to an empty chamber. At the half empty Parliament chambers, he reiterated some of his expectations regarding the motion.“We have already succeeded, by filing this motion and getting this Government to sit up and notice these issues we are dissatisfied with. And we believe this will force them, if the PPP fails to secure the majority in the house, to take cognisance of the reasons why we are filing the no-confidence motion. And it will force them to bring a better budget… We’d like to see the restoration of the children grant. The same money they’ve increased food in Government by, they can give the children the $10,000 grant. It’s a matter of priorities. They should restore water subsidies for pensioners. reverse the VAT on electricity, water, medical supplies, food, and machinery,” he added.Jagdeo had noted that some other measures he wants the Government to take is to reduce excise taxes, reverse the increases in land fees for Mahaica/Mahaicony/Abary (MMA) farmers… increases the farmers have still been unable to meet.Better governanceIn a published advertisement, the PPP went into further details on their reasons for filing the motion, and which were the concrete reasons for the peoples’ rejection of the People’s National Congress-led coalition. It pointed to the thousands of jobs that have been lost as a result of the closure of Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) estates.In addition, the Party referred to the various scandals that have erupted under the Administration. They include the single sourcing of the feasibility contract for the new Demerara River crossing, the single sourcing of a drugs bond and the single sourcing of drug procurement contracts.The Party noted the numerous breaches of fiscal laws flagged by the Audit Office of Guyana in its reports, as well as the lack of accountability in the D’Urban Park project; something even the Auditor General had to launch a special probe into.The depletion of Guyana gold and foreign reserves was also highlighted. In fact, a report from the Central Bank earlier this year had indicated that Guyana’s net foreign reserves, held by the Bank in foreign currency notes; has fallen to its lowest point since 2008.Tax collection has increased dramatically; a point alluded to by the Party. This publication had reported findings from the recently released 2017 Auditor General report, which had showed that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) collected more taxes than was even anticipated.In the End of Year Budget and Reconciliation Report, it noted that the projected revenue for 2017 was $186 billion. Instead, Government actually collected $195 billion in current revenue. This includes duties, levy, personal income and withholding taxes.Court settlements since the coalition Government took office were also zeroed in on by the Party. The Attorney General’s Chambers has come under much criticism for not being able to secure success for several cases against the State.Since taking office, in addition to losing cases, Government has opted to enter into out-of-court settlements. These settlements included sums to the tune of US$5.7 million; $226 million and $3.8 billion.Following the motion, the Government side gathered on Friday afternoon for a meeting chaired by Prime Minister and acting President Moses Nagamootoo to discuss the move.The postponed sitting has meanwhile been rescheduled for Monday.