Bauxite workers will once again see no taxes levied on their overtime wages as government yesterday announced the reinstatement of their ‘no tax to overtime’ policy that was removed under the PPP/C administration in 2007.
Minister of State Joseph Harmon yesterday told a press conference that the decision was made at Cabinet’s meeting on Tuesday.
He pointed out that in 1988 bauxite workers were granted tax-free concessions on overtime work and this was enjoyed by workers until 2007 when they were arbitrarily taken away by the PPP/C government.
President of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union Lincoln Lewis expressed elation at the announcement. “It has been a long struggle. The workers will welcome this decision,” he said.
Lewis said the case has always been made for the workers to have the time minus their stipulated 8 hours not be taxed but since it was taken away in 2007, under the presidency of Bharrat Jagdeo their cries fell on deaf ears.
He pointed out that employees of GuySuCo are still paid tax-free overtime.
Nonetheless, Lewis said he was grateful that the workers will see the benefits of their hard labour in the extra dollars and cents they will now gain.
Harmon said too that reinstating the policy was government’s way of “basically correcting that situation.”
Junior Minister of Social Protection Simona Broomes was pleased with government’s decision as she believes the workers will be happy also. “I am happy because workers are happy.
On a visit to Rusal last week the workers had complained bitterly about their overtime being taxed. This issue has been long standing and to have it settled is good,” she said.
“My government has delivered on its promise to make life better for workers,” Broomes who has responsibility for labour added.
Harmon was asked about government’s position on the failure of the Russian company, Rusal, to have its employees unionized, but he said the matter was not discussed at Cabinet and as such he could not comment.