In more than 80 countries around the world, Petroleum Trade Unions exist to ensure the complete unionisation of all workers, regulate relations, settle disputes, and maintain just and equitable general conditions of service.
With Guyana poised to become an oil producer in roughly 10 months and several locals already entering the sector, some observers believe that the need for such a union is urgent. Yet, it does not appear to be a priority issue for the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).
At a press conference that was held at GCCI’s Waterloo Street office yesterday, its president, Nicholas Boyer, was asked about the Chamber’s stance on the matter. Boyer said that right now it would be a tricky question for the Chamber to answer since there are some areas of employment that are going well. Boyer acknowledged that there are complaints of equal pay but stressed nonetheless that he would have to do more research on the matter. He said it is on his to-do list.
In addition to this, Boyer said, “If everything is going well where my countrymen are being paid fully and are not at a disadvantage then I think there is no need for it but if it is not the case, then I would call for collective bargaining…As a Chamber, our role is more dispute resolution.”
The GCCI President asked that the question be put to Guyana’s Trade Union to see what help they would be willing to offer in the industry.
Much of the work in the oil and gas sector is done by specialised equipment and machines but there are still other important parts of the operation that require human input.
It is on this premise that over 80 countries around the world have trade unions to ensure stable employer-employee relations since people are key to the smooth flow of petroleum operations in the host country.
These trade unions are also essential to advancing the education and training of members, providing benefits and other assistance as provided in the oil laws for workers, and encouraging the participation of petroleum workers in decision making at industrial and national levels.
From 2015 to now, no government official or even the Energy Department has publically spoken a word on this matter.