Message by The General Secretary, Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana

by Mr. Kenneth Joseph, General Secretary, Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana

kenneth josephGuyana is spared the results of the worst forms of Child Labour because most of its Labour being focused mainly on the coastal line and the majority of its agricultural products being owned by the Government. This country, unlike many others, has seen more involvement in labour by the female gender with positive results being expected from this sector of the population.

The men folk in Guyana on the coast line are involved in work in factories, construction and in cash crop planting. This planting at times find a lot of family involvement and has been seen as work for young people mostly out of school time.

With the focus placed in education by the Government, very little exposure to high risk toxin and pesticides are involved within the young community. There is not any or much report of illness from lifting of heavy loads and strains, cuts and punctures from the use of sharp instruments etc.

While there exists some vending in small shops most persons could claim that this is done to assist in raising of funds during out of school periods by those that are in need. With the recent investigation by members of Parliament concerning the operations in the interior found very little report of child labour in their report.

Worst forms of child labour, such as forced commercial sexual exploitation, seem to exist, but these reports are being investigated by organization and Government with a view of eliminating them.

Youths involved in gangs are also signs being seen in the country and with a few reports of excesses by the Guyana Police Force, it does appear that the security forces are involved in arresting this situation.

There seem to be very little involvement in harassment by employers both immigrant and non-immigrant to suggest much exploitation.
Guyana Labour Laws provided for labour protected by Ministry of Labour, Occupational Safety & Health Act, Trade Unions Law, Termination Laws of modern times and these laws are policed by the officers of the Ministry of Labour, Trade Unions and other organization to protect the young person from being exploited, as in many other countries in the world.

It is important that this arrangement of containment for the Health and the Education of the youth to continue legal regulations.
Labour laws provide for Labour protected by age, and hours of work. Protection through the OSH Act, Discrimination Act, the Trade Union Act, Trade Union Recognition Act and the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act along with organistion and by the Ministry of Labour, Education and in some instances the security services.

The Theme ‘Extend Social Protection: Combat Child Labour’ is a call for more action to keep our youths safe and guarded from the worst form of child labour and should be embraced by all.