– Says GuySuCo’s practices influence absenteeism
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG), Guyana’s major Trade Union grouping, has thrown its support behind sugar workers.
The Federation said that while it is saddened over the deteriorating relations between the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the workers’ bargaining agent, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU), it has no choice but to lend its support and solidarity to GAWU and its members.
“It is NOT the sugar workers’ fault that the industry is now enduring perilous times,” FITUG declared,” saying that it was the Government and GuySuCo who determined that a new factory at Skeldon should be constructed to bring down the cost of producing sugar.
“The workers are NOT responsible for the outrageous break-downs and down time at this “modern” facility,” FITUG stated.
The Federation further said that workers are not responsible for the rainy season and lost days. “And sugar workers certainly do not fashion the Turnaround Plans and the programmes and policies which the employer, GuySuCo, comes up with.”
According to FITUG, the sugar industry’s workers certainly play a vital role in the sustained viability of their industry in that they have to turn out to work in the fields, factories and offices to ensure the production of the most tonnes of sugar possible.
“When, however, they experience unwillingness by the employer, to consider reasonable wage incentives and increases, they foresee a gloomy future despite their back-breaking toil and their morale plummets to undesirable lows,” FITUG stated,
“A demoralized work-force cannot produce adequately,” the Federation added, arguing that it should never be beyond the employer to find the material means to encourage their workforce. “Instead, GuySuCo’s practices influence workers’ absenteeism and disloyalty.”
FITUG has concluded that GuySuCo has not actually offered its employees any increases.
Since the sugar industry is a key component in the national economy’s well-being and since sugar’s challenges will impact on all Guyana, FITUG said that perhaps it is time for substantial government intervention into this impasse.
“Sugar is too big to fail – at least at this stage of our national developmental programmes,” FITUG noted.
“Failure will see hundreds of thousands of workers and their dependents suddenly becoming a destitute constituency in this economy.”
FITUG said that any transition in the sugar sector has to be planned and gradual.
“Since our President is aware of the importance of Skeldon, he is bound to be aware of the current larger picture confronting the industry. All the elements, therefore, urgently invite his government’s intervention.”
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