Gov’t Will Continue to Champion the Rights of Workers – PM Phillips

Gov’t Will Continue to Champion the Rights of Workers – PM Phillips

Photo: Prime Minister Mark Phillips at the ceremony at Enmore, East Coast Demerara on Sunday. Photo courtesy: Department of Public Information.

By Department of Public Information

Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips has underscored the steadfast commitment of the PPP/C Government in advocating for the rights of workers nationwide, ensuring they are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

The PM made the assertion on Sunday, during the commemoration of the Enmore Martyrs, at the monument site, Enmore, East Coast Demerara.

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“As a government, we are committed to continuing the fight for justice and equality,” the prime minister told those gathered.

As the nation observes the 76th anniversary of the tragic killing of five sugar workers at Enmore, PM Phillips said the occasion serves as a reminder that the ultimate sacrifice made by these brave men must not be in vain.

Rather, he said it should serve as an inspiration to advocate for fair labor practices, supporting workers rights and striving to create an environment where every individual can thrive without fear of exploitation.

Along this vein, he pointed out that the government has made significant headway.

“The progress we have made in labor rights and working conditions includes better labor policies, improved working conditions, and the establishment of labor unions that protect workers rights across our nation,” he said.

The prime minister said these moves have seen the enactment of sound pieces of legislation, and the establishment of a robust regulatory framework that recognizes workers’ rights.

He said, “This includes the Trade Union Recognition Act of 1997, a landmark legislation which empowered labor unions by providing a legal framework for their recognition and ensuring that workers have the right to be represented by unions of their choice.”

This legislation has strengthened collective bargaining and enhanced the negotiating power of workers.

Added to this, the implementation of Occupational Safety and Health laws have been critical in safeguarding the well-being of workers, mandating that employers adhere to safety standards that promote a secure working environment.

“As part of the consistent consideration that workers receive their fair compensation for their labor, our country sees periodic reviews of the national minimum wage to ensure improved living standards for workers,” he added.

The prime minister also highlighted substantial gains made within the agriculture sector, where instrumental reforms have sought to enhance the living and working conditions of those operating within the industry.

These efforts include measures to boost sugar production and improve the lives of sugar workers, diversification efforts, and support for small farmers, contributing to better economic opportunities.

However, despite this progress, the prime minister acknowledged that many workers still endure harsh conditions and unfair treatment.

In this regard, he underlined the importance of collective action to exact more positive change.

“Unity and solidarity among workers have always been the cornerstones of our progress,” he said.

According to PM Phillips, the occasion serves as a reminder that the struggle for a better life must be carried forward by each generation.

“In remembering the Enmore Martyrs, we are reminded that the struggle for a better life is continuous. Their bravery symbolizes the importance of standing up for what is right, even in the face of overwhelming adversity,” the prime minister said.

Enmore Martyrs Day marks the anniversary of a tragic incident that occurred on June 16, 1948, when five sugar plantation workers were brutally killed during a peaceful strike in Enmore Village.

This day serves as a solemn reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for workers’ rights, social justice, and equality in Guyana.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill; Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony; members of the diplomatic corps and other government officials were all present at the ceremony.

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