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Government is being urged to take heed of the stark realities facing the country and to address in a pragmatic and comprehensive manner the terrible conditions revealed in the Guyana Labour Force Survey as at September 2017, which was produced by the Bureau of Statistics.The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) said having reviewed the report, the organisation is convinced that the regular publication of such statistics is important but is critical for policymakers to come up with appropriate policies to address the day-to-day challenges people face.FITUG President Carvil DuncanFor the FITUG, the survey was certainly an eye-opener and brought out several important concerns which policymakers should not lose sight of. FITUG said the statistics are not comforting, especially taking into account the developments since the conclusion of the survey.It said while mention was not made of the poverty rate, it was disclosed before that 53 per cent of Guyanese either live in poverty or are vulnerable to impoverishment.Interestingly, the survey pointed out that less than half of the working-age population is actually employed. The Federation said it therefore begs the question what are the other half doing to get by. Moreover, the survey noted a decrease in the male employment rate between the 2012 census and the end of September 2017 and an increase in the female employment rate in the same period.While the coalition Government has been persistent in its appeal for Guyanese to become entrepreneurs as a means to achieving the ‘good life’ objective, the survey’s findings, on the other hand, has painted a very different picture, FITUG said. “We dismayingly learn that the self-employed, on average, earn about 23 per cent less than their counterparts who are in salaried employment. At this time, when the people are being pushed in this direction, is such a decision rational bearing in mind the realities that are prevailing?”Based on the survey, the unemployment rate has remained relatively unchanged falling marginally from 12.5 per cent in 2012 census to 12 per cent at the end of September 2017. FITUG said it would therefore be interesting to see what the rate would be at the end of March 2018 following the implementation of the mass redundancy in the sugar industry, which began in late 2017.According to the Federation, the survey also revealed that women represented more than half (50.7 per cent) of the unemployed though they account for 39.9 per cent of the labour force. This means that women have both a lower chance of getting a job and a higher possibility of being unemployed. As for youth unemployment, that figure remains alarmingly high and stood at 21.6 per cent last year.“For the thousands of graduates emerging from high school and university, this is not good news and belies the Government’s promise of jobs for youths. The situation of the youth is especially worrying considering that the survey advised that half the population is under 25 years and a quarter of those between 15 and 24 years are enrolled in educational institutions,” the FITUG added.Based on this survey, the Federation said it is convinced that a vast number of young people are looking for work or have become fed up with job hunting and may be encouraged or forced to take another path.The report also indicated that jobs are becoming more difficult to come by.Notwithstanding a national 40-hour work week, workers are working beyond the stipulated time, the survey also concluded.FITUG believes that the findings in this survey also serve to expose the fact that workers are forced to work beyond their normal time. This indicates that low rates-of-pay are being offered and the workers must work the extra hours in order to make ends meet.