Guyana’s Minster of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, met with Officials from ExxonMobil Guyana on Wednesday where the rights of Guyanese workers and equal pay for equal work formed a major part of the discussions. ExxonMobil Guyana President, Alistair Routledge, and Senior Director, Government Relations, Marcus Tripp, discussed these and other matters during a courtesy call with the government official.
The Labour Minister told OilNOW two key aspects of the discussions related to allegations of unequal pay for Guyanese workers and employment contracts that reportedly warn against unionization.
Mr. Hamilton said during the meeting, the ExxonMobil officials “were open to talking about the fundamental issues engaging workers in the oil and gas industry.”
He said the allegations being made by some workers which have been brought to his attention “didn’t point to ExxonMobil itself” but their sub-contractors.
“I indicated to Exxon that they have a responsibility to ensure that the people they contract, and sub-contract follow the Labour Laws of Guyana,” Mr. Hamilton said. “Secondly we also discussed allegations that suggest people are given contracts that stipulate they cannot be members of, or form Unions.”
The Minister of Labour said he implored the company officials to ensure their sub-contractors follow the country’s labour laws.
“I said to them, for me – from a business standpoint, it makes sense to have couple people representing the interest of a 100 persons, rather than a 100 persons knocking on the doors of the managers,” Mr. Hamilton said.
In a comment to OilNOW, ExxonMobil Guyana Public and Government Affairs Advisor, Janelle Persaud, said the company is committed to providing a positive, productive and safe work environment for Guyanese.
“We have well-established programmes to attract, develop and retain a highly talented workforce; contractually requiring our suppliers to comply with all applicable health, safety, and labour laws for themselves and their subcontractors,” she stated.
The Minister of Labour said collaboration regarding training, particularly in the area of Occupational, Health and Safety also formed part of the discussions.