Sugar workers strike enters fourth day
Sugar workers on several estates throughout the country yesterday joined their colleagues at Enmore on the East Coast of Demerara to press home their holiday-with-pay demands.
The strike action entered its third day yesterday and there appears to be no solution in sight as the sugar corporation is maintaining that the shortfall in production has severely impacted its finances and has hampered its ability to make the payout.
The sugar corporation has laid the blame for the shortfall at the feet of the ordinary workers and the shortage of cane.
But the workers are maintaining that it is the management of the state-owned company that is to be blamed for the financial woes. They said that they should not be the ones to have to bear the brunt of the financial shortfall.
Yesterday, workers staged a protest outside the Enmore sugar factory, carrying placards, some of which read “Shame on GuySuCo”, “No money, no work” and “Stop blaming workers for shortfall”.
Factory workers’ representative, Sukhram, told the media that their grouses were raised with the Personnel Manager but the response was not satisfactory. He explained that the company had written to the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) informing that body of its cash flow problem and its inability to pay the workers.
“They (GuySuCo) ain’t say when they gon pay and the workers are very dissatisfied over the situation,” Sukhram said.
The sugar corporation reported a significant shortfall in its projected production for its first crop of 30,000 tonnes of sugar.
Guysuco’s projected target was 101,800 tonnes and to date only 71,000 tonnes have been produced.
The company in a statement issued last Monday said that all estates, with the exception of Skeldon and Blairmont, closed their crop on May 11.
But according to the striking workers, the two remaining estates are expected to complete grinding and join the strike.
The workers are convinced that GuySuCo is using a red herring to deny them the agreed payout.
The industrial action could severely affect GuySuCo’s planned maintenance programme to prepare for the upcoming second crop.