Troy Resources Guyana has taken a decision to terminate the employment of hundreds of Guyanese workers, weeks before the Christmas holidays, in keeping with a decision by the Board of Directors on Sunday last.
The move however, is being seen as a flagrant breach of Guyana’s Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act, which speaks to payment of employees in lieu of notice and in dealings with unionized workers.
An internal memo was circulated yesterday by the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ken Nilsson, in which it was stated Troy Resources was unable to secure financial support for its venture, and as such, the company would require more time for completion.
The decision was taken to sack the workers with the aim of rehiring workers at some point in the future.
Nilsson, in the aforementioned memo seen by this publication and addressed to employees said, “the return to profitability is paramount for the longer term success and as stated earlier, we need to have a clear path and positive economics to achieve our goal.
The company had been operating under labour rules that had allowed it to stand down workers for a six-week deadline which elapsed yesterday. As such, Nilsson indicated that since the time has expired “it has triggered some decisions on the way forward.”
He told workers, “the board has thus decided that all personnel currently stood down will be terminated from this week.”
It was indicated too that while the decision was taken reluctantly, the company is willing to assist employees by providing a termination payout.
According to Nilsson, “it is expected that Troy will go back to rehiring employees as needed for a start up in the near future.
Nilsson said too that those currently working will not be affected by the decision and that the company is looking to make its severance payout no later than Friday.
The Company, which boasted 512 employees with 21 expatriates and 86 contracted workers, has since decided to only retain 137.
Administrator of the People’s United and General Workers Union (PUGWU), Lincoln Lewis, last evening confirmed that the memo had indeed been sent by Nilsson. He was adamant, however, that the move by Troy Resources is in breach of the Termination and Severance Pay Act.
According to Lewis, the company by law is required to notify the union of its intention to lay off the workers and to provide that body with a list of those persons to be laid off.
He told Kaieteur News, this is in addition to certain other requirements to which the union has flagrantly breached.
Lewis said that he did not expect any amicable talks with the union given its history of employee and union relations, and that the union officials “are right now (last evening) discussing the issue about this afternoon (internal memo) and taking legal action.”
Troy Resources Guyana had suspended its operations close to two months now, following the death of a geologist, 33-year-old Ryan Taylor. The incident brought to the fore the unnerving working conditions endured by employees at the Region Seven Karouni concession.
The operation in the Cuyuni-Mazaruni Region has come under increasing fire, over its operations and the cost/benefit to the country.
Troy obtained the Karouni project by acquiring Azimuth Resources Limited which was in operation at the time.
Kaieteur News has since learnt that the US$100M deal, involved mostly paper transactions involving shares, and only saw an actual cash transfer for the company at about US$10M.
For this, Troy Resources obtained 94 Small Scale Tenements, 220 Medium Scale and 6 Large Scale Tenements, in addition to another three recent claims.
According to Nilsson, during 2015 the company began construction of its processing plant at a cost of some $75M, and commenced production the following year.
According to its principals, however, the company has never been able to meet its production targets.
Nilsson told media operatives that its last month of steady cash flow was US$6M.
He said that the operation requires about US$5M to continue with its operations saying, “normally we need to produce a minimum of four thousand ounces a month.”
Speaking to the debacle facing Troy Resources Guyana, Nilsson told media operatives over the weekend that the mining and processing operations are currently shut down. He explained that with no mining there is no ore to process.
He did confirm that the company is still in the process of undertaking its exploration activities.
According to Nilsson, the company was working under the rules that allow it, for business purposes, to stand down a number of employees – that being the aforementioned 137.
The remaining employees have since been fired and not just ‘stood down.’
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