Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton MP met with managers of the BOSAI Minerals Group Guyana, on Friday, as part of the ministry’s routine inspections, to ensure companies are in compliance with the country’s laws.
The minister, who was accompanied by Senior Labour Officer, Prandatt Basdeo and other technical officers, raised a number of issues relating to Labour and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) and the non-payment of tax and National Insurance Scheme (NIS), which were reported to him.
Minister Hamilton said he received reports of workers being employed on a temporary basis for prolonged periods. He explained that the longest probation period for an employee is six months, thereafter, the company will have to employ the person permanently based of their performance.
The minister also expressed his disappointment with the lack of a proper OSH protocol upon entering the worksite. He impressed upon the company the need to implement proper safety and health measures, to ensure the safety of the more than 600 individuals employed by the company.
“I have a self-interest in this matter as Labour Minister…We have to pay attention to safety of our workers and ensure that workers return home to their families and BOSAI also has that responsibility,” Minister Hamilton said.
While outlining the Government’s position regarding the protection of workers’ rights, Minister Hamilton noted that foreign companies must comply with the Laws of Guyana. He stated further that local employees and expatriates must be treated equally.
He said it is important for the Ministry to develop good relations with BOSAI and other companies, to ensure the key regulations and guidelines are followed. As such, the Ministry’s Labour and OSH departments will work along with the company to remedy the infractions.
The company will be given approximately three months to address the various issues, after which a follow-up visit will be made to ensure full compliance with all labour regulations.
The Ministry has already established a regional labour office in Linden and is recruiting Labour and OSH officers, who will continue to carry out routine inspections in the mining town.