Guyana’s Labour Laws will have to be reviewed to better cater for the budding oil and gas sector, says Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott.
The minister, who was at the time speaking on the government-owned National Communications Networks (NCN)’s programme “Insight”, said that with the advent of the oil industry, Guyana is faced with a type of labour relations that never existed before in its history. This alone, he said, calls for such a review.
“Oil and gas has ushered into Guyana a new era; a new type of labour relations that never existed before. Even though you would have had mining, oil and gas is a whole new ball game. I don’t think our laws are properly geared to deal with how we go about relating to contractors; how we go about relating to the protection of workers who are offshore; how we classify workers that are offshore; and whether the oil rig is a factory or whether it is a ship. Those are the areas that we happen to be silent on at the moment in labour laws,” he said.
Scott said that the ministry is having discussions with other ministries to iron out how the laws can be better tailored to suit the nation.
“We will be reviewing the current labour laws, because time elapsed and made it a little bit obsolete in some areas – many areas. So, we are engaging in discussions with the Attorney-General’s Chambers…Yes, we have to do some updating. We have already begun to give it some thought and it will be done.” The minister said.
He noted also, that the laws will be updated to give the labour department more teeth, so that when employers are summoned, they must have no choice but to comply.
“We are a little bit weak in ensuring that when an employer is summoned to the labour department, that he has no choice but to appear,” Scott said.