Jul 27, 2016 News
By Jacquey Bourne
The Russian Mining Company, Rusal, is accused of ill-treating its employees.
Workers at the mining company in Aroaima, are complaining that the company is not adhering to the laws.
One employee who wished not to be named said, “The previous government condoned it and we wouldn’t accept it from this government.” The employee, who was the spokesperson, said the union is defunct because the Russians say they don’t want any Union.
“And I am saying that we want the union because it is recognized and we want the union back in Aroaima to negotiate for us. It is about seven years now that the company just giving us handouts…three and four percent increase, and they making millions of dollars. We want the Government of the day to look into this matter immediately.”
The employee noted that the company dismissed 57 workers and to date those employees are not reinstated or paid.
“Manzoor Nadir was the Labour Minister, then, and he said that the union sign an agreement with the company stating that there shall be no strike, but they had two paragraphs (1) the company agree that there shall be no strike and paragraph (2) states, in case there is any strike the union and the company must resolve it.
“Manzoor Nadir never mention clause 2, he always sticking to clause 1 of the agreement. Manzoor Nadir is to be blamed for all this that is going on with Rusal.”
Employees claim that the Management is not talking with the union and they are not paying them their holiday.
“There is an agreement signed that once you work the day before the holiday and the day after, you are entitled to eight hours pay if you are on days off or you work you get double.”
According to the disgruntled employees they are being deprived of their entire leave entitlement. They claim they are only paid two weeks, even though some of those who have over ten years of employment are entitled to five weeks pay.
The workers claim that for those who work at Kurubuku mines face a serious health hazard because the conditions are deplorable.
“It is the worst place I working in the history of me working life. The conditions are terrible. People drinking water from tanks for seven days without changing and nobody cares nothing. The management don’t care.
“As a matter of fact you hardly see them at Kurubuku; they don’t go there. If they do, they don’t spend more than fifteen minutes.”
The spokesperson compared the camp to a slave camp and pleads with the government to visit, and not stay in Georgetown, because they cannot know what is happening from there.
“Come on site and see what is going on. Come through the Berbice River from Kwakwani and don’t tell them when you are coming. If we talk for our rights we get dismiss; they get rid of you. That is what is going on right now.”
The workers are pleading for the return of the union to negotiate for them because according to them they are suffering. They claimed that Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, and a team visited Aroaima and Kurubuku.
No worker got a chance to speak to them.
“Is we put them there; we vote for a change and they never talk to us, they talk to management. We want them to come back and talk to us. We want Harmon to come back there almost immediately and talk to us. We need better conditions.”
The workers argued that it is not the company who voted them into Government. Rather, it was them. The government is supposed to talk to them and listen to their concerns, they said.
“We want them to come now”.
The workers are adamant that the Russians are taking advantage of the situation.
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