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Ministry of Labour News & Events Section
Friday, 10 October 2014 00:00

Labour Minister: ‘More vacancies than persons available to fill them’

Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Gopaul (right) and FITUG President, Mr Carvil Duncan on the WFTU Action Day march Minister of Labour, Dr. Nanda Gopaul (right) and FITUG President, Mr Carvil Duncan on the WFTU Action Day march

MINISTER of Labour, Dr. Nanda Gopaul has stated confidently that there are more vacancies around Guyana, than persons available to fill them.
Dr. Gopaul gave this assurance as he addressed a Workers Rally on the lawns of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) headquarters, High Street, Kingston, last week, in observance of World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) Action Day, 2014. The theme of the observances was “Fighting Against Unemployment for Dignified Work”.

The Labour Minister was at the time reacting to a World Bank report which claims that Guyana has a 22 per cent unemployment rate. Said Dr. Gopaul, “What I can tell you, as Minister of Labour, is that there are thousands of vacancies around this country and we can’t find workers to fill those vacancies… That’s the situation. What is important is when we search for workers and can’t find workers, you can say you are getting somewhere.”

Dr. Gopaul noted that Guyana has developed over the last ten years, in an unprecedented manner. And alluding to ‘dignified work’ as contained in the theme of the ‘Action Day’ observances, he assured: “Working conditions have improved tremendously, to the point that today, whether they be part-time workers; domestic workers, or working in someone’s home or shop, there is dignity in labour. It is because of the Government of the PPP/Civic, we have been able to accomplish a national minimum wage for everyone.”

Further, he said, Guyana has ratified the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention 189 touching on domestic workers, and giving legal coverage for domestics, making them entitled to work no more than 30 hours per week or 8 hours per day with no exploitation. Any period of work beyond that has been attracting overtime consistently since 1992 in this country. The Minister said too that Guyana has made strides in industrial relations by the enactment of several legislations to protect the rights of workers.

MASSIVE TRAINING

As for those job seekers who have not yet found employment, the Minister said such persons seeking employment will have to state clearly that no job is available for which he or she could be employed.

In order to beef up employment opportunities for young people, Dr. Gopaul said that government has embarked on massive training programmes. Over the last five years, government has targeted school children and trained them with marketable skills.
“We continue to train thousands per year, under the Board of Industrial Training (BIT) and all those persons are beneficially employed. Instead of training them to work for employers, we train them to work for themselves,” he said.

He cited the training of thousands of persons by government over the last several years, in the art of making concrete blocks. And there’s an added incentive for the persons trained, Dr. Gopaul said. “At the end of training, we give them the block moulds and supplies of cement and sand to start their own business.” Block making is a very lucrative undertaking, and a skill for which there will always be demand locally, given the current housing and construction boom.

Women too have benefitted from training programmes that are geared to equip them for employment. Both single parents and young mothers benefit from training in areas such as cake-making and cosmetology that could make them gainfully employed.
And for school leavers who did not write the CXC examinations, such persons are being trained as equipment operators, and have all been employed on completion of the training, according to the Minister.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gopaul said that the Ministry of Labor has revamped its Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency – an agency where unemployed persons could go and get registered. To this end, he is urging unemployed persons to apply there. He said that by the end of the year, almost all of the persons having registered are offered employment.
The Minister recalled that in 2013, the agency registered more than 100,000 persons and placed 1,500 in employment, adding , “That’s a positive sign that employment is here.”

And for those who are yet without jobs, the Labour Minister threw out a challenge. “I am appealing to those who believe that they can’t get jobs, to come to the Central Recruitment and Manpower Agency in any region in this country and we will be able to place you for job opportunities.”

APPEAL

The Labour Minister ended with a call to Guyana’s youth: “So young people, I want to appeal to you, do not waste your lives on drugs or at the street corner. There are opportunities. Enough money is being voted or set aside to train all the young people in this country. We want to make every single youth employable. I want to let you, the young people know that you can have a job in this country if you seriously want to work.”

Source: Guyana Chronicle

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