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Declaring unlawful political discrimination in employment

first_imgDear Editor,This letter was motivated by a statement by the Minister of Health and Chairwoman of the PNC, Volda Lawrence on preference of PNC party comrades for employment and Government contracts, which was widely reported in the media. She was also the former Minister responsible for the labour portfolio. What a vulgar statement! However, Volda Lawrence must be commended for her honest confession of the not so subtle practice of the PNC. That position is discriminatory and unlawful as stated hereunder,The system of industrial relations is informed, influenced and functions within the norms of national legislation, international labour standards, and regional labour policy of Caricom. The national Constitution of Guyana, the labour laws, and international labour conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), ratified by Guyana as treaty and international law, provides the legal basis, foundation and framework in employment by the Government, its agencies, and the social partners represented by trade unions and employers and their organisations. Together, these instruments constitute the Labour code of Guyana.The general principles of Part 1, Chapter II of the Constitution of Guyana provides right to equality of opportunity and treatment in all aspects of employment, education, social and political life; and imposes a duty on the state to protect the just rights and interests of citizens. Our Constitution on fundamental rights states that the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual entitles every citizen basic rights without distinction and discrimination including the right, regardless of his/her race, origin, political opinions, colour or creed to freedom of conscience, of expression, assembly, and association.Guyana’s Prevention of Discrimination Act No. 26 of 1997 protects against unlawful discrimination, and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, religion, colour, ethnic origin, indigenous population, national extraction, social origin, economic status, political opinion, disability, family responsibilities, pregnancy, marital status, or age except for the purpose of retirement and restriction on work and employment of minors.The Act also prohibits discrimination against a person by distinction, exclusion or preference, the intent of which is to deny equality of opportunity or treatment in any employment or occupation. Under this Act, it is unlawful for any employer or his/her agent to discriminate in relation to recruitment, selection or employment on any grounds including discrimination in advertisement of the job; in determining who should be offered employment; in terms and conditions offered; the creation, classification or abolition of jobs; by retrenching or dismissing the employee; in conditions or work or occupational safety and health measures; or by denying access, or limiting opportunities for advancement, promotion, transfer or training connected with employmentThe International Labour Convention 111 – Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) 1958, ratified by Guyana, as an International Treaty:i) requires the promotion of equality of opportunity and treatment in relation to employment and occupation and calls on states to declare and pursue a national policy designed to eliminate all forms of discrimination;ii) defines discrimination as any distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex, religion, political opinion, national extraction or social origin affecting equality of opportunity or treatment in employment and occupation; andiii) covers access to vocational training, employment, and terms and conditions of employment.Caricom’s Declaration of Labour and Industrial Relations Principles outlines the general labour and industrial relations policy to which the Caricom states aspire. The Declaration is informed by ILO Labour Standards (Conventions and Recommendations) and re-enforces these standards relating to non-discrimination in employment and occupation, and employment policy.The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 of the United Nations, Article 23, states that Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment without any discrimination.Sincerely,Joshua Singhlast_img read more