I wish to first of all point out that this subject of a 40 hour a week or five working days was engaging the attention of the Guyana Trades Union Congress for a number of years, and acting upon the urgings of that body for the enactment of the Bill, tripartite meetings were held years ago. A consensus was reached by the Ministry of Labour according to Mr Nanda Kishore Gopaul that the implementation of the new national minimum wage of $35,000 per month will take effect from the 1st July 1, 2013. It is however regretted that the government has rushed into this arrangement as businesses foresee a wide range of difficulties in the implementation.
However, employees including domestic workers, manual workers and watchmen will benefit if the Ministry of Labour would monitor and examine the employer’s books to see if the minimum wages are being paid and the 40 hours is adhered to as fixed by law in the new legislation.
Moving vigorously on the implementation systems doesn’t makes sense, since Guyana already enjoyed too many holidays. Low production is the direct cause of our poverty and changing the working hours would significantly decrease the national output of goods and services. Our economic planners must never forget the lessons of those enterprises struggling to make profits. So wouldn’t it be appropriate to consult with the business communities? This new labour legislation change for a 40-hour week without reduction in pay, a minimum wage law for all working people, portal-to-portal will definitely have some serious impact on production and the business communities.