PM welcomes Rusal investigation

May 17, 2011 | By | Filed Under News 

…Corbin says “nonsense must stop”

Prime Minister Samuel Hinds has welcomed a decision by Russian aluminum giant, RUSAL, to send a team to investigate claims that its General Manager threatened to use a spade to bash workers heads and faces and bury them.
The incident also sparked an angry reaction from Leader of the Opposition, Robert Corbin, who expressed his party’s vehemence.
The Prime Minister last evening said that he was informed by RUSAL’s local subsidiary, Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI), of allegations stated by the Union. The Prime Minister said that those allegations concern an acrimonious interaction between the General Manager and some workers the preceding Sunday morning (May 8th) at about 08:00 hrs.
The matter had attracted the attention of the company’s headquarters.
Hinds, who is responsible for the mining sector, welcomes the decision of the company’s headquarters to send officials to conduct an investigation and also to remove the Manager from the mine site pending the outcome of the investigation.
Meanwhile, Corbin yesterday said that he wishes to make it categorically clear that his party vehemently dislikes the attitude of the company in abusing and insulting Guyanese workers.
He said that the time for such behaviour has long passed, since Guyana became independent in 1966.
He said that it is a disgrace that the Government will condone such atrocious and unacceptable behaviour where the manager at the company could threaten a worker with a spade and use derogatory remarks.
According to Corbin, it must be known that his party will stand vehemently and fully behind the bauxite union in taking any action necessary to preserve and protect the integrity and decency for Guyanese workers.
Corbin said that he calls on the Minister of Labour and Government to mount an urgent investigation into the matter so that calm and stability could be maintained.
Corbin noted that is nothing short of a disgrace that the Government and Minister of Labour have remained idle for years while disputes between workers and the company remained unsettled.
He added that his party went so far as to move a motion of no confidence in Parliament in a hope that it would trigger the Minister to find a resolution to the problems in the bauxite community.
Again, Corbin, said that he subsequently met with the minister and arranged with him to speak with the union and again he made commitments but have not been fulfilled.
He called on the government to take immediate action against any ex-parte company to ill treat workers.
He said that workers have a right to demonstrate within the laws of Guyana to defend their rights.
The PNC leader said that its time that the nonsense that is happening in Guyana be brought to an end.
Corbin stated that the Ethnic Relation Commission, which is responsible for taking all sorts of action, is not legally authorised to do so. The body has been unconstitutional since May 2007. Then there is the Advisory Committee on Broadcasting that is also deemed non-functional in a legal sense.
He further stated that RUSAL’s track record has shown that the company is disrespectful to the nationals wherever the company operates.
Bauxite workers at the Aroaima mine site had accused Ruslan Volokhov of threatening them with a spade.
The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) urged RUSAL, yesterday, to take action against the General Manager, while at the same time contending that Government should on its own also sanction that company.
GTUC, in a statement, claimed that it has received the complaints from several workers who were seated in a bus Sunday at the camp site.
Volokhov allegedly was carrying a spade in his hands and “threatened to bash their heads and faces then bury them. This threat was made to the workers when they were in the company’s bus at the camp site.”
It was disclosed that the incident was sparked by workers not turning up to work because there was no water to shower. Water supply did not resume until later that day.
According to the RUSAL officials, the workers acted with restraint and with maturity and did not resort to strike actions over the matter.

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