Greenidge denounces gov’t over treatment of unions

Former finance minister Carl Greenidge has lashed out at the PPP/C administration for its treatment of trade unions in Guyana, including the decision to withdraw subventions to the Critchlow Labour College (CLC).

“It is to the everlasting shame of the country and a testimony to the arrogance of power as exercised by the PPP government that the subvention to this institution [the CLC] should have been arbitrarily withdrawn,” Greenidge said.  He was at the time delivering an address last week at a forum sponsored by the CLC and the Guyana Trades Union’s Congress (GTUC).  The title of his address was “The challenge of leadership in a 21st century union movement.”

Greenidge told those gathered that “it needs to be said that the CLC has served the workers with distinction over the years since its establishment.” According to him, “many of this country’s citizens have been given a second chance through the basic and advanced courses CLC has offered to those who did not make the best use of the educational system.”

The government has withdrawn subventions to the CLC for a few years now.

It has not resumed the practice, in spite of several calls being made by members of the parliamentary opposition and leaders of the GTUC.

Meanwhile, Greenidge said that the government, in its pursuit of foreign investment, has encouraged foreign companies to come in and break the law, while it (the government) “continues to sit on its hands.” While identifying the Chinese owned bauxite company Bosai and the RUSAL subsidiary Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BCGI) as two such companies, Greenidge said that government is not moved to act because of state-to-state agreements and because the affected workers are not its supporters.

The BCGI and the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GB&GWU), the bargaining unit for employees, have been engaged in an industrial dispute for 16 months.  The two parties are currently before the Ministry of Labour. Bosai management and employees have also experienced rocky industrial relations.

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