WITH the increasing number of recruitment agencies in Guyana, the Ministry of Labour (MoL) is intensifying its oversight of them, beginning with the creation of a register.
During his address on Thursday at the MoL launch of Occupational, Safety and Health Month, Minister of Labour, Joseph Hamilton, put recruit
Notwithstanding several recruitment agencies operating in Guyana for several years now, Hamilton said that, to the best of his knowledge none has registered with the CRMA. Hamilton believes this has resulted more from the agencies not being properly informed as opposed to willfully flouting the law.
“I would want to believe its ignorance on the part of the agencies, so we have to take the initiative and seek to engage them and regularise their operations. I have to know what every recruitment agency is involved in, how many persons they plan to engage and we need to have that information,” the minister explained.
In existence for some 76 years, the CRMA is a publicly managed recruitment agency which falls under the authority of the MoL.
Recruitment or employment agencies have sprung up over the past few years with the discovery of oil in Guyana.
Recruitment and employment agencies are a middle man between employers and employees. They work directly with the companies to find and shortlist candidates to fill vacancies with the company.
Hamilton said the ministry will be reaching out to oil companies such as ExxonMobil to assist with locating the recruitment and employment agencies so that ministry can work along with them to get them compliant with local laws. Labour in Guyana is regulated under the Laws of Guyana Chapter 98, including the Labour Act Chapter 98:01, Employment Exchanges Act Chapter 98:05, and Recruiting of Workers Act Chapter 98:06. “I have to be able to glean whether everything they do conforms to the labour laws of Guyana. All of that information we will have to get in the next couple of weeks so we can have a register of all of these agencies that are in Guyana operating,” he noted. Hamilton shared that the ministry has already had encounters with some recruitment agencies that did not properly understand provisions in the laws. He noted a case where overtime was not being correctly calculated. “We have engaged at least one agency and another company which had their own confusion about what the law is and what it is not,” Hamilton explained. Hamilton also highlighted that Guyana’s correct legislation is not sufficient to cover the needs of the country’s changing landscape and the ministry is currently embarking on a revision of labour laws. Improved supervision of the recruitment agencies forms part of the Government’s overall enhanced oversight of areas involving labour across the country, beginning with the return of a Ministry of Labour, after it was made a department under the Coalition Government. Over the past few months, the ministry has been embarking on a capacity building and improved monitoring campaign.