Mar 18, 2016 News
For the second day in a row, lawmen, including newly-appointed Commander Assistant Commissioner of Police Ian Amsterdam, had to rush to the Rose Hall Estate as the strike at the entity intensified, with all the Harvesting and Fertilizing gangs now on strike. This was quite unlike Wednesday when only the Harvesting P workers took strike action and stormed the factory compound.
The workers planned to escalate the strike action with the shutting down of the entire operation until their demands are met which include the removal of newly appointed Estate Manager Yudi Persaud.
The extra security was sent for after the workers had forced themselves past the estate security and had entered the compound when the Estate Manager for the second day had refused to meet with them. According to the workers, the Manager left the location for Georgetown without speaking to them.
The workers described the Estate Manager’s actions as “blatant eye pass,” dictatorial and aimed at undermining the Corporation, a view which was also shared by their representatives present.
The genesis of the problem stemmed from the Estate’s refusal to offer the workers adequate amount of work. The workers who were backed by representatives of GAWU stated that for some strange reasons they were not offered work on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, the entire Estate was not required, while no work was offered to the harvesters on Tuesday. The workers said that they are prepared to work every day, including Tuesdays. The workers said they want answers and are prepared to fight for their rights.
However the workers stated they were not told anything and when they asked questions they were insulted by the Estate Manager who refused to meet with them or their representative.
“We will not return to work until we get answers or until this man is removed from here.”
The workers said that there was no reason why the estate could not give them work to do. A number of them stated that they have bills to pay and three and four days’ work cannot suffice, since they will lose out on incentives.
According to GAWU Berbice representative Harvey Tambron, the Estate manager is breaching all the labour laws and conventions, including the constitution of Guyana, by not offering work to the workers.
“People want answers, Tambron said, “and if they don’t get answers then they will take action.”
He stated that in the entire corporation it is only Rose Hall Estate that decided not to provide work for its workers. The workers are asking the reason why the manager is taking this stance, as “the weather is excellent and the factory is working”. They view the action of the Manager as an attempt to sabotage the industry and undermine them from earning a decent livable wage.
Mr. Tambron said when he contacted the Estate Manager concerning the workers demand; he was told by the official that he does not have to explain his action to nobody.
One worker, Arthur Lewis, stated that he has been working with GuySuCo for 21 years and has a weekly loan payment of $6,000. Orin Mc Bean said he has a $10,000 weekly loan payment to make and is in need of work.
The workers said that they are also willing to work on Tuesdays. Giving an example, one representative stated that two Tuesdays ago, 46 extra workers turned out to work, since the estate did not burn enough cane. On that day the gang harvested 76 punts of cane.
“If that is not undermining the corporation, what is?”
More gangs are expected to join the strike, since they are all being affected. The representative stated. They want the Manger to be removed.
Meanwhile, GAWU yesterday issued an official statement.
“GAWU considers that the workers at Rose Hall Estate stand on good grounds and looks forward to the Manager and the representatives having a meeting without delay rather than to allow the strike to escalate.”
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