Public authorities undermining collective bargaining in Guyana

first_imgDear Editor,The principles and practice of collective bargaining are being ignored, undermined, or sabotaged by public authorities in the public service and the University of Guyana, contrary to established and agreed procedures between the trade unions and the organisations. In short, the procedures in sequential stages require direct negotiations, conciliation/mediation, and finally arbitration. Ignoring or violating these procedures is contrary to the spirit and intent of the labour laws, and International Labour Convention Treaties ratified by the Republic of Guyana and notified to the international community of the United Nations and the International Labour Organisation.Accordingly, reference is made to general principles to our national Constitution, and in particular, some relevant International Labour Convention Treaties, and labour laws on the fundamental principles and rights at work including:Convention No 87: Freedom of association and protection of the right to organise;Convention No 98: the right to organise and collective bargaining, and which obligates the State, public and private authorities to provide adequate protection of trade unions exercising their right to organise and collective bargaining to regulate the terms and conditions of employment;Convention No 151: Labour relations (Public Service) provides the same rights and protection accorded under Convention No 98 for the Private Sector employees, through negotiations, conciliation/mediation, and arbitration;the Labour Act – Chapter 98:01 on the settlement of industrial disputes; andthe Trade Union Recognition Act – No 33 of 1997 obligating the employer and the recognised trade union to confer and bargain in good faith in the collective bargaining process. This law is clear – failure or refusal on the part of either the employer or trade union constitute an offence and liable on summary convection to payment of fines.Any aggrieved trade union should challenge the management in the Private or Public Sector – in count, for failure or refusal to bargain in good faith, or indulging in subterfuge or bad faith in negotiations in collective bargain. The University of Guyana and the public service unions, or the Department of Labour should resort to the courts, as may be necessary, to ensure that there is full observance of the principles, legal, and treaty obligations to bargain in good faith.Wake up trade unions at the University of Guyana, and the public service and promote and protect the interests of your members through collective bargaining. Members of unions should take the leadership of unions to court for failure or refusal to bargain in good faith on their behalf in keeping with the agreed or established representation procedure in the collective bargaining process.Yours sincerely,Joshua Singhlast_img read more

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