Skeldon factory has ‘one of its best weeks’ – GAWU
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) has indicated that the ailing sugar industry is showing signs of recovery.
According to the union, whose membership comes largely from the sugar sector, the recent weeks have been heartening with the beleaguered US$200M Skeldon Factory having one of its best weeks since being commissioned in 2009.
The union has been grappling with falling membership numbers as sugar workers, the backbone of GAWU, continue to migrate to other sectors.
According to GAWU, yesterday, following the successful conclusion of its 20th Delegates’ Congress on August 28th, the 52-member General Council met for the first time on Saturday, unanimously electing persons to its Central Executive Committee.
Veteran trade unionist, Komal Chand, has been returned as its President, while General Secretary, Seepaul Narine, was also returned to that position. Jankie Persaud is the Honorary President and Uranie Heeram is the Vice President; Mohamad Ahamad is the Assistant General Secretary and Derek Thakur the Organising Secretary. Aslim Singh was elected as the International Affairs Secretary while Rooplall Persaud is the Treasurer.
Michael Inderdatt, Walter Raghoo, Bevon Sinclair, Harvey Tambron, Abrahim Nagamootoo, Janice Leander-Fowler and Bickram Singh have been elected as the Committee Members.
The General Council, which meets once every three months, is the second highest forum of the union after its Congress. It manages the affairs of the union between Delegates’ Congresses. The Central Executive Committee meets once monthly and it assists to manage the affairs of the union.
According to GAWU, its General Council members want the Board of Directors of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the management of the industry to address especially those agricultural issues which “fetter a quantitative yearly level of sugar production”, in keeping with the corporation’s factory capacities and its present human and other resources.
At Saturday’s meeting, members also hailed the positive performance of the sugar industry over the past few weeks. Last week, the highest weekly sugar production for months was reportedly attained as the industry declared a production of 9,369 tonnes.
Satisfaction was also expressed by members over the unexpectedly positive performance of the Skeldon Factory over the last four weeks, though some crucial remedial work on the factory and its accessory components has not yet been undertaken.
“Last week, the sugar production realized at this important factory was 2,481 tonnes, the highest since the commissioning of the factory in August 2009,” GAWU said.
The GAWU has increasingly been clashing with the cash-strapped GuySuCo in recent years as production fell to an all-time low.
“Members of the union’s General Council committed themselves to the myriad tasks ahead of the union as it grapples with its day-to-day work and challenges.”
GuySuCo has blamed its poor performance on a poor workforce, rain and strikes.