FITUG says many not paying new minimum wage

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana is outraged that employers continue to flout the law by refusing to pay their workers the new national minimum wage and plans to forward such reports to the Labour Ministry.

According to the union it is on record as having previously advocated for the implementation of a national minimum wage which was finally implemented by the Ministry of Labour with effect from July 1, 2013. The new order was made under Section 8 of the Labour Act, Chapter 98:01 and is cited as the National Minimum Wage Order 2013.

In a press release, FITUG said the new order stipulates that the minimum rate of wage payable to every persons employed in Guyana “shall be not less than two hundred and two dollars ($202) per hour or one thousand six hundred and sixteen dollars per a day ($1,616), or eight thousand and eighty dollars ($8,080) per week or thirty five thousand dollars ($35,000) per month as the case may be.”

The Order stipulates that if at its implementation a worker had been in receipt of a wage at a rate higher than prescribed, the employer must continue to pay to that worker that same wage and not reduce the rate on account of the Order. The Order also prescribes that the normal work week should be 40 hours and should not exceed five days. “Any hours of work beyond the normal hours shall at a minimum be paid at the rates set out in the Labour (Conditions of Employment of Certain Workers) Act No 18 of 1978, the factories Act, Cap 95:02, or any other law or any collective bargaining agreement in force where workers are represented by a Trade Union.”

FITUG is gravely disappointed about the many reports and complaints it continues to receive indicating non-compliance with the law by many employers, mostly within the private sector. The union notes that the minimum wage is applicable to all workers of Guyana and with the Schedule of the Order listing more than 60 categories of workers, though not limited to those only. FITUG strongly condemns this violation of workers’ rights, saying that the refusal to pay the many low-income workers even the new minimum wage is “capitalist and virulently anti-working class. The union intends to forward the complaints to the Labour Ministry and expects swift prosecution of those who violate the law.

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