Oct 20, 2016 News
The Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GuySuCo) says it is unable to pay any salary and wage increases this year to its workers.
This came out of the latest negotiation talks held yesterday between the corporation and representatives from the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU).
According to GuySuCo, the first meeting was held on September 19, 2016 and a comprehensive financial, production and marketing presentation on the prospects of the corporation was made to the union.
Additionally, there was a meeting with the corporation executives and all three unions on September 29, 2016 where the corporation’s financial and production forecasts up to the year 2025 was presented and discussed.
“The union (GAWU) was informed at those meetings that the corporation had made a loss of over $16 Billion in 2015; and that the projected loss for 2016 and 2017 would be almost $13 Billion and more than $12 Billion respectively.”
In order to cushion the impact of those losses, the Government had provided a subsidy to the tune of $12 Billion in 2015 and $9 Billion in 2016.
“However, the corporation is seeking an additional $3.5 Billion in order to sustain its operations to the end of this year. The union was also advised that in 2017, the corporation would require a further subsidy of more than $18 Billion against a backdrop of lower production, reduced market prices, resulting in lower revenue.”
In light of the grim financial challenges, the corporation said it informed GAWU and its delegation at a meeting yesterday that it did not have the monies required and was unable to award an increase on wages and salaries for 2016.
“The union and their representatives raised several matters pertaining to the corporation’s capital investment programme, future diversification plans, and wage increases, among others which the corporation’s delegation had referred to earlier,” GuySuCo said in its statement.
The corporation claimed that it also asked GAWU whether there would be any more strikes, since it was a requirement that the union give notice of strike action.
“This would allow for better planning by managers to avoid wastage of canes, since if the canes were burnt and not sent to the factory within a specific time period, they would obviously be too stale to grind. The Union’s response was the intention of the Union was no business of GuySuCo.”
GuySuCo said that it finds this attitude hardly one for fostering better relationship between the parties.
“The corporation is in the middle of the second crop which has been affected negatively by the prolonged dry weather in the first crop. It aims to take full opportunity of the good weather in this crop. The weather condition for the past few weeks was most appropriate for harvesting. We are now missing a good opportunity for increasing production.”
Due to the strike action on October 17, 2016, six factories were not in operation.
GuySuCo said that sugar losses across the industry resulting from the one-day strike alone was approximately 202 tonnes. This is due primarily to the stalling of canes. However, sugar loss due to total opportunity time, is approximately 1,500 tonnes.
“The corporation is disappointed that GAWU is not putting the business first and is not providing the leadership required to encourage the employees to fulfil their roles and responsibilities to the corporation so that they can obtain the full benefits of this second crop in terms of increased incentives and other benefits.
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