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|Labour Ministry, NIS boost capacity to prosecute defaulting employers -commence four-day workshop|
|Monday, 09 July 2012 22:35|
AS part of continual efforts by the Administration to protect and safeguard the welfare of workers, the Ministry of Labour in collaboration with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), yesterday, commenced a four-day workshop for labour inspectors, and probation officers attached to the two entities.
Minister of Labour Dr. Nanda Gopaul, in his address, said while the laws are there to protect workers, the responsibility lies with officers to ensure they are well prepared to defend the workers’ interest.
He also urged officers to ensure that proper records, complaints, minutes from meetings and other supporting documents are always recorded and filed “so that when you appear in court you will have all the material evidence needed to prosecute effectively,” Minister Gopaul said.
Against this background, he said that if prosecutions are done diligently then there will be less ‘violators’.
“Do not go on the wrong side; do not be tempted, you have taken on a job conscious of the role and responsibilities and remuneration…all workers of this country need some upgrading of their package but, we have to do so on what our economy can afford,” Minister Gopaul explained.
The Ministry, he said, can facilitate all the necessary training for officers but, without the right attitude and principles toward the job, the tools provided will become useless.
He also reminded officers to be vigilant of the two-book system being practised by some employers to cheat the system of Pay as You Earn (PAYE), NIS and minimum wages.
“There are some employers out there…always looking at ways and means to cheat the system…not paying minimum wages, no overtime, poor working conditions- unhealthy sanitary conditions,” Minister Gopaul said.
In this modern age, he said that the labour system will never allow such unscrupulous practices under the watch of this government.
Some state run entities, he said, have to often be reminded of the right practices inscribed in the country’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.
“Another issue we have also is discrimination of wages paid to men and women for the same type and burden of work…often employers pay women less wages for a job which is being done by a man,” Minister Gopaul said.
The Labour Minister called on officers to always be punctual for work, since tardiness by some in the past has led to the acquittal of many cases in the court.
“Another challenge that we have bedeviling the prosecution process is where overtures are made by employers to escape the long arm of the law…causing them not to turn up for court and causing them to forget the issue, thus allowing the case to slide away,” Minister Gopaul explained.
The Government, he said, has been and will continue to look at ways and means to ensure that workers’ rights are always safeguarded, especially the vulnerable who do not have trade union presentation.
The programme will be facilitated by Senior State Counsel (Ag) Zamilla Ali.
Guyana, Minister Gopaul said, will soon be adopting the International Labour Convention governing the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
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