Oct 26, 2019 News
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) said it has continued to follow very closely and with great anxiety, the second sugar crop production.
“The union learnt that as of yesterday morning (October 24), production for the crop stood at 35,397 tonnes sugar. Thus the industry is required to produce 40,446 tonnes sugar if it is to realize its target of 75,843 tonnes.”
Production at the individual estates was as follows:-
According to the union, with half of the scheduled crop weeks already completed, production at Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt estates stood 43.3%, 42.2% and 64.9% respectively of their crop target.
“Taking into account the remaining scheduled weeks, it appears to us, that the industry will not be able to realize its set target.”
The union is projecting that production would be as follows:
The union said that information indicates that contrary to previous statements by the corporation, the factories continue to experience difficulties.
“In fact, some officials in GuySuCo have shared with us that they cannot understand what is really taking place. The GAWU has learnt that the factories suffer breakdowns many times not too long after they would have undergone their weekly maintenance. It brings into question what is taking place at the level of the management of the industry’s factories.”
What’s even more disheartening, the union said yesterday, is that the corporation, in recent times, has bolstered its factory operations department, but the situation persisted.
GAWU said it has been informed that factory breakdowns during the ongoing second crop totalled 498 hours as follows- Albion – 253 hours; Blairmont – 96 hours and Uitvlugt – 146 hours.
“While we expect the Corporation to tell us and the public that lack of investment is the main culprit, we, at the same time, must ask again what happened to the monies secured to re-capitalise the industry and to address the very issues that are popping up with too much regularity. If our information is correct, we also must be concerned about the approach of the management in addressing factory issues.”
GAWU said it learnt that the workers of the Uitvlugt factory, West Cost Demerara, during the day time hours on October 20 informed the management about a developing issue at the factory. The workers urged production be stopped and the issue remedied.
“This suggestion was not considered. During the evening of October 20, with the issue becoming more pronounced, the workers again urged the management to stop the factory and allow the problem to be rectified. This request again was turned down. When the factory was finally stopped on October 21, it took nearly 24 hours for the problem to be remedied, at some cost to the corporation. The workers shared with us that had the factory been stopped when the issue was first noticed, it would have taken a few hours at most to fix the issue and at far less cost and downtime.”
At Albion, too, the union said it learnt that one issue regarding the boilers had to be fixed twice in a short time.
“Workers shared with us that, on the first occasion, appropriate time was not allowed for the curing process that was required. As a result, the issue re-appeared in a week’s time and the factory had to be out of operation for nearly one day. This is simply unacceptable and brings into obvious question the competence of some of the Corporation’s staffers.”
GAWU noted that at the end of the day, the workers are the biggest victims.
“The corporation, we understand, has generally been satisfied with worker turnout this crop. We also learnt that punt weights have generally been acceptable, except at Uitvlugt where some further checks are necessary. It, therefore, seems to indicate that the workers are fulfilling their obligations, yet the estates cannot achieve their weekly targets and thus denying workers their incentives.”
The union urged GuySuCo to critically examine the situation in the factories.
In the last four years, the Coalition Government closed four sugar estates laying off over 5,000 workers.
The smaller-sized state-owned GuySuCo has been posing challenges with the sugar target barely over 100,000 tonnes.
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