Sue Longley, the General Secretary of the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) has raised concerns about the growing prevalence of contract workers in Guyana while urging those in the emerging oil and gas sector to unite through unions.

Speaking at the commencement of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) 22nd Delegates Congress held at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), Longley, the first female to hold this position, noted the ongoing economic surge in Guyana and questioned when these gains would truly reach the Guyanese workforce. She asserted that organizing workers into unions, advocating for fair wages and working conditions, is paramount for ensuring equitable distribution of benefits.

While acknowledging the government’s commitment to the Trade Union Movement, she expressed the importance of the newly generated jobs being not only numerous but also stable and conducive to unionization.

She also underscored the IUF’s awareness of complaints regarding the widespread use of contracted labor in Guyana. Addressing the global context, Longley emphasized the challenges faced by workers’ rights globally, some overt and others more subtle. She highlighted the detrimental impact of the increasing utilization of short-term precarious contracts on trade unions’ strength and their ability to organize and recruit workers.

Longley affirmed the IUF’s dedication to collaborating with its affiliates in Guyana to ensure equitable allocation of the newfound prosperity, safeguarding traditional sectors such as Agriculture. In addition, she placed strong emphasis on the IUF’s partnership with GAWU to protect the rights of the working class across various industries.

Underpinning the theme of the 22nd Delegates’ Congress, “Advancing workers’ rights, economic progress, and social justice,” Longley also that the strong union presence within the Labor Industry is vital to effectively champion workers’ rights and interests.


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