Aurora Gold Mines (AGM) the Canadian Company at the centre of negotiations between workers and the Labour Department, has proposed a 7.6% bonus pay to its workers.
In a letter, the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Suresh Kalathil, disclosed that a number of preliminary decisions were taken by the company’s management, towards fixing the issues, internally — pursuant to the meeting with the Labour Department on July 8.
In a circular issued to the mines workers, management of Aurora Gold Mines informed that inter alia a 7.6 % bonus on their salaries was proposed as part of improving the terms of employment offered to rank-and-file staffers.
The bonus pay is a quarterly production scheme which is based on an achievement of set production goals, including the ounces of gold produced.
The bonus pay would kick in on July 25, 2019.
According to the correspondence, by July 14, AGM would have met with all the employees to emphasize the company’s core values which include treating all employees in a respectful and inclusive manner.
“Our performance management process ensures regular follow up to ensure behaviour shifts in the right direction and within reasonable period of time.”
As it relates to the concerns over compensation, salary level and pay rates, AGM said that a site compensation committee and mandate will be created and initiated by August 31, 2019 to review compensation-related issues including those related to contract employment.
“A final report with recommendations will be provided for management review by October 31, 2019,” the proposal stated.
The Goldfields Management also proposed a devised plan to further cascade specific goal and objectives to all employees by August 2019.
“In addition, we will hold a series of Town Hall and internal communications to ensure that employees are further informed of the 2019 objectives to perform and deliver as per our 2019 plan,” AGM added.
With regards to severance packages, the company said that in cases where termination of employment is required, AGM will abide by employment legislation and regulation of Guyana.
AGM also gave a commitment to review the rotation period for workers and actively address the issues related to payments to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
However, as it relates to the unionisation of workers, the company said that the AGM is happy for the employees to engage in discussion about the “possibility” of union recognition as per the laws and regulations of Guyana.
The Labour Department had promised the workers that it would expedite the application process for the workers to be recognized as unionized by the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Board.
The workers had expressed an interest to have National Mines Workers’ Union of Guyana (NMWUG), headed by Sherwin Downer, represent them.
The Labour Department is supposed to conduct a survey – which it said it would – to determine the workers’ choice of a union.
Such a survey would have workers recognized under a union if it receives at least 40% of the total vote.
Speaking to Kaieteur News recently, Downer noted that the NMWUG is closer to starting dialogue with the gold mining company.
According to Downer, the NMWUG is in possession of 300-plus application forms for AGM employees which will be submitted to the Labour Department soon.
“The NMWUG therefore urges the company to be a part of the solution to the workers issues.
“As President of NMWUG, I will continue to extend an olive branch to the management of AGM.”
Meanwhile, Downer said that NMWUG welcomes the announcement of the company of a 7.6 bonus increase on payments.
He warned nonetheless the offer can be used as a ploy to distract workers from the call for a union.
“The NMWUG encourages all workers to accept unilateral increase of 7.6 % but urges them to retain the NMWUG as their final barging agent…
“The Union is committed to the interest and welfare of worker above all else.”
Earlier this month, some 250 rank -and -file workers attached to the Mines and Mechanical Division of AGM downed tools at the Cuyuni-based operations in protest for better wages, working conditions and overall terms of employment.
Chief among the concerns of workers is the need of Union to represent their interest.
AGM- which is operated under the name Guyana Goldfields Inc. has since met with officials of the Ministry of Social Protection’s Labour Department.
During the meeting, the company gave a commitment to work with the Labour Department towards addressing the workers’ concerns.
Additionally, the Labour Department had announced that issues should be determined in a matter of two weeks.
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