The current restructuring of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is continuing to rock especially the satellite communities that the affected estates surround.
Shops, suppliers, contractors and even taxis and short-drop cars were among those affected, in addition to almost 4,000 workers that were let loose at the end of last year.
So, too, would vendors who would have been plying their trade with snacks and even greens stands that were operating in front the factories.
This is especially so in the case of Wales estate, West Bank Demerara.
The four estates closed over the last 13 months were Skeldon and Rose Hall, in East Berbice; Enmore on the East Demerara, and Wales, West Bank Demerara.
It would amount to the biggest retrenchment of sugar workers in decades.
The administration, acting on recommendations of GuySuCo and the reports of an inquiry and ‘White Paper’ on the future of the industry, decided to close what was described as the least performing estates.
It was disclosed that GuySuCo collected over $32B in the last three years in bailouts but was unable to show signs of a turnaround. Production fell to one of the lowest in years, in 2017.
There are also other affected stakeholders too.
According to information, unions of the sugar workers would be taking a major dent in their revenues.
In fact, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) was reportedly receiving more than $29M monthly or over $300M annually. GAWU is the largest sugar union.
GuySuCo, up to the closures, were boasting more than 16,000 workers- the largest single employer in Guyana.
The other union is the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE), which represents mainly middle management and office staffers.
From information, they received around $3M monthly in workers’ union dues.
The unions have been fighting tooth and nail against the closures and planned divestments and privatisations.
It is unclear how GAWU has been investing its monies but what is known is that GuySuCo has stated its intentions to reduce that 16,000-plus workforce to about 10,000.
That means, under such a scenario, the union is facing a loss of about $10M monthly.
The unions were being blamed by the previous Donald Ramotar administration of not doing much to increase the fortunes of GuySuCo.
In fact, the sugar unions were asked on several occasions to sit on the board of GuySuCo, an appeal that did not find favour.
However, GuySuCo has been accusing the unions of spearheading a significant number of strikes and other industrial actions which has not been helping the GuySuCo situation.
GAWU’s leaders have been closely linked to the former administration, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
In fact, GAWU’s leader, Komal Chand, is an executive of the party, whose support were built on sugar workers.
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