Some workers at Oldendorff only on short-term contracts

Dear Editor,

 

Oldendorff Carriers Guyana Inc (OCGI) employs a large number of Guyanese workers on short-term contracts of one month, three months, six months and one year, who are still not permanently employed, while other workers have been working for a number of years as casuals. OCGI classifies the said workers as permanent casuals and when the union asks the company to address the issue the company maintains it is not in breach of the laws of Guyana.

OCGI is using employment contracts and the casual classification as a mechanism to rob Guyanese workers of their benefits and tamper with their welfare, since when the workers go to the bank for a house loan the loan officer normally tells them that the bank cannot grant them loans because the OCGI short-term contract does not guarantee any long-term employment. The contracts contain clauses that provide for OCGI to terminate workers’ employment at any time without any reason being given, and as such, the contract does not guarantee job security.

Editor, a lot of the OCGI workers don’t have a contract; they are just working at the will of the company. They can’t even approach the bank for a loan since they don’t have any signed employment agreement with OCGI despite the fact that some of these workers have been working with the company for a numbers of years.

With the exception of short-term contract and casual workers, all of the other workers are on contract, but the union in its draft Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) provides for all workers to be permanently employed after serving a three months’ probationary period with satisfactory performance .The union and the company are still in negotiations to have the CLA agreement signed on to, but OCGI stated that when the CLA is concluded the company will issue the employment contract to all workers.

The union is in the process of reviewing the Guyana labour laws and upon completion it will be making proposed amendments to the AFC+APNU government that will eliminate all deficiencies and loopholes which allow workers’ rights and benefits to be trampled on by companies such as OCGI, etc.

The union welcomes investment by foreign companies in Guyana, such as that of OCGI, which provides jobs for the citizens of Guyana and allows it to make a profit so it can continue its operation in a sustainable manner, etc, but at the same time no company can function in a sustainable and productive manner without a good labour force, and as such workers deserve to be compensated for their labour and receive fair payment and benefits; in addition, their rights should be respected, etc.

 

Yours faithfully,

Micah Williams

General Secretary

The People United and General Workers Union

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