Opportunities in 24-hour operations, says minister
The likely introduction of legislation permitting a 24-hour business environment will present new investment opportunities for the private sector, Minister of Labour Esther Byer says.
Some businesses, such as gas stations, are already 24-hour operations. Byer said with more coming on stream once the relevant legislation was passed, the demand for some services, including daycare, would increase.
“And that does not mean that Government has to move to open its nurseries 24 hours. What that means is that it provides opportunities for somebody to open a daycare facility after hours,” she pointed out.
“Neither does it mean that the Transport Board is going to have to operate after hours. It need not. It might be an opportunity for a private operator to make a contractual arrangement as they currently do with some operations.”
The minister cited, as an example, the existing arrangement between late night workers on Harbour Road and privately contracted buses.
“It’s the private sector that mainly want to be able to move to [a] 24/7 [work environment] . . . Even if we wanted to, Government cannot say at this point we’re going to put more buses on the road, we’re going to open more nurseries; it’s just not within our means right now, but it presents opportunities.”
Byer said accepting the proposed longer work hours also did not mean additional time on the job for employees.
”In moving to a 24/7 operation, we can’t do that without considering the individual workers . . . No worker is going to be required to work more than a 40-hour work week,” she assured.