Ms Burton cannot claim success with the PPP/C administration during her GTUC presidency

Dear Editor,

While Ms Gillian Burton, former President of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), has a constitutional right to freedom of association, such right does not extend to falsification of claims about the GTUC.  This is a dangerous path Ms Burton is pursuing and doesn’t augur well for her integrity. Her use of the PPP campaign platform to make claims of what she attributes as “successes” she achieved as former GTUC president with President Jagdeo, and same not
materialising because of the “vindictive and egotistical” executive is deserving of attention, not because of what she says, but more because of the penchant to think such claims can be made without her being held accountable.

First, success is the presence of achievement and any claim to such should be evident for all to see. Second, if there were any success with this government during Ms Burton’s presidency the GTUC would have record of same and would have communicated this to the workers, while the PPP would have long sought to ensure public relations mileage. And in the instance where none of these obtains one is hard put to understand the workings of a mind that would blatantly make these deceptive claims.

The GTUC has an abiding interest in the creation of a just society for all based on rights and the rule of law and the resulting impact on the lives of workers in their socio, cultural, economic and political spheres, in and out of the workplace. These are the tenets of our existence, that we work/unite with anyone/everyone to achieve. Given this premise the workers would have an interest in the successes Ms Burton so freely claims on the PPP platform, as evidently she feels compelled to defend an association with a government infamously known for its attacks on the working class.

And these anti-worker attacks have been many over the years. Some are: 1) Govern-ment refusal to respect the right of workers to freedom of association with a union of their choice, and to collective bargaining; 2) the 2-year struggle of the bauxite workers employed at the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc (BCGI) where the Minister of Labour refuses to enforce the Labour laws and have the company respect Section 23 of the Trade Union and Recognition Act to treat with the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GB&GWU); 3) The state-owned GuySuCo threat to de-recognise the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) as the bargaining agent for sugar workers; 4) The government decade old refusal to engage in collective bargaining with the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) and implement in its entirety the Armstrong Arbitration Award; 5) The composition of the Trade Union Recog-nition and Certification Board, making it prone to political manipulation; 6) The struggle being waged by the Postal, Telecommunica-tion & Workers Union, (Ms Burton’s former union) to secure a decent pension for senior officers of the once state-owned Guyana Telecommunication Corporation; 7) The failure of the government to implement the GTUC/Government of Guyana 2001 Agreement to improve policing as critical to good governance, reducing crime, ensuring security, peaceful co-existence and development; 8) The unjust denial of the workers’ money to the Critchlow Labour College and Guyana Trades Union Congress; 9) The failure to implement income tax reform and the lowering of VAT; 10) The failure to implement the National Development Strategy to ensure equitable development for all; 11) The failure to institute a Poverty Reduction Programme through job creation; 12) The failure to uphold international conventions, universal declarations and principles, and the Guyana Constitution for all.

And in so far as the above exists and in the face of the government‘s continued refusal to address same, Ms Burton can make no honest claim of success(es) with this administration during her GTUC presidency.

Yours faithfully,
Lincoln Lewis
General Secretary
Guyana Trades Union Congress

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