More than week after learning of an agreement that they would receive a long-awaited, tax-free overtime pay, several workers of the Russian-owned Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BCGI) are expressing displeasure.
Several workers of the Aroaima and Kurubuka mine site, Region 10, contacted Kaieteur News saying that salaries paid for this month have been processed and the adjustments to reflect more monies are not there.
“We contacted management and they said they are awaiting some letter from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA). We called GRA and they don’t know anything about it. We don’t know what games are being played,” a spokesman of the workers.
Salaries that were prepared this week were the same, the official said.
More than a week ago, the Ministry of Social Protection’s Labour Department hosted a meeting with members of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers’ Union (GB&GWU) and representatives of RUSAL to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) crafted by the government.
The MoU was to ensure workers of the BCGI receive their tax-free payments of overtime. Minister within the Social Protection Ministry, Keith Scott, had issued a letter to RUSAL demanding the effective release of payments to the employees under the company’s employ since October 1, 2016.
According to Minister Scott, the Government issued the MoU in 2016 and it was signed by all parties except RUSAL, as a result severely affecting workers of the company.
The minister opined that after months of deliberations, the RUSAL employees deserved to be paid.
“They (RUSAL reps) left agreeing that the principle is correct and hopefully within a couple of days, they will start to affect the principle after making further consultations with their Director…But we can safely say the workers will be given their November money,” Scott revealed.
Following the meeting, General Secretary of Guyana Bauxite and General Workers’ Union, Lincoln Lewis, explained that the case has been ongoing for a while, and he is gratified to see the government playing a pivotal role in ensuring justice is served to the workers.
“The comments from the Minister speak to the responsibility of the Government of Guyana. I believe they (the government) have sent a signal to one investor that considers itself a large investor; that the race has come to an end, and they will have to respect the law and people’s rights,” Lewis said.
Meanwhile, representative of RUSAL Guyana, Vladimir Pertuyakou, stated that he believes the meeting was a constructive one. He noted that his team understands the position and concerns of the Social Protection Ministry and hopes the matter will be resolved in a timely manner.
“We explained our position and despite small technical differences, we are going in the right direction. Our company was promoting a new waiver on overtax pay for our workers. I think soon we shall settle this very issue,” Pertuyakou said.
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