PRESS RELEASE

MAY DAY 2003 MESSAGE

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) wishes to extend best wishes to all the working people of Guyana on this May Day - the holiday of the working class.
It is a happy co-incidence that we are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first elections held under Universal Adult Sufferage that resulted in the first working people’s government of our country. It is also appropriate to recall that it was the PPP Government, in1958, that made May Day, a holiday in Guyana.
At this time and on this occasion the PPP recalls its consistent efforts throughout the years to forge unity of the working class and indeed, all working people. It continues to do so today in the face of many divisive attempts particularly the political opposition determined to use ethnicity as a tool to promote their own agendas. These attempts to weaken the working people do not serve their genuine interests but, instead serve to perpetuate their exploitation and put a break to their steady development.
Working people of Guyana must be aware of those who seek to divide them, while at the same time pretending to be friends of workers.
We must recall that whenever we act unitedly we have made great gains, as in 1953. On the other hand it is the working people that suffer the most from divisions as we saw in the1964 to 1992 period, when real wages was cut to just about US$0.50 per day.
Over the last decade the Guyanese working people have enjoyed not only a great improvement in wages but also a better quality of life. Education, health, housing, pure water supply have all been greatly improved. Moreover, the Guyanese working class has also advanced in terms of Labour Legislation.
The Trades Union Recognition Bill, which has advanced Industrial Democracy was finally passed in 1997. This piece of legislation has a history of its own and was probably the most important reason for the suspension of the constitution in 1953. Today it is on our books.
Many other measures have been taken that has helped to strengthen the working class. The removal of the "means test" that deprived our senior citizens of a pension was a demand of the Trades Union movement for some four decades and that is now a reality.
Other notable pieces of legislation aimed at protecting labour include "The termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act", "The Occupational Health and Safety Law", "The Prevention of Discrimination Act" and the "Holiday with Pay Act" among others have served to protect our workers from any unscrupulous employers.
On this May Day we also wish to extend our solidarity to the peoples the word over and particularly those of Iraq and Palestine and hope they will over come the ravages of the recent war and restore their sorvenity.
In our own country, we emphasize that unity of the working people is a necessary requirement for steady economic development and progress. We must do everything to ensure this.
Finally to workers everywhere, the PPP salutes you.