Dec 22, 2019 News
One of the country’s largest unions is complaining about the attitude of one foreign-owned timber company.
Chinese-owned Demerara Timbers Limited (DTL) is telling the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) to write them and not negotiate face-to-face.
DTL has its main base at Mabura, Region Ten.
The matter has reached to the offices of Attorney General, Basil Williams, with no movement for a while now.
The disclosures were made yesterday, by GAWU during the union’s year-end press conference.
“During the year, we continued to address the attitude of the foreign-owned Demerara Timbers Limited (DTL) which is refusing to engage our union in the process of Collective Bargaining.”
GAWU explained that for some time now, the company’s management has shown an unwillingness to engage in face-to-face meetings.
Rather, the Chinese company has opted to restrict relations to correspondences.
“Our union has pointed out that Collective Bargaining necessitates such engagements in order for matters to be addressed in a full and frank matter. We have found the company’s attitude to be most disrespectful.
“It has even refused to attend meetings summoned by the Department of Labour. The company’s behaviour, apart from being unbecoming, is also unlawful. Our laws have clearly pointed to the need for Collective Bargaining between recognised unions and companies.”
According to the union, it has drawn the company’s “demeanour” to the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Board (TURCB) which is charged with, among other things, upholding the Trade Union Recognition Act. The law regulates how collective bargaining should work.
“The TURCB has considered that GAWU’s submission is proper and has agreed that the company should be made to comply with the laws. The matter, we understand, has been referred to the Attorney General (AG) Chambers for action.”
According to GAWU, the matter has been with the AG Chambers for some time now but no action has been pursued.
“It is disappointing that the rights of the workers are being disregarded and though the law is on their side, it appears that there is no impetus for appropriate action. Certainly, no Government should allow any enterprise – local or foreign – to be disrespectful to its people and their rights.
“While the GAWU will continue to actively follow-up this matter, we are also mulling other steps we could take.”
The concerns would come as the spotlight focuses on the performance of foreign companies operating in Guyana.
Russian-owned Rusal, which operates bauxite plants in Aroaima and Kurubuka, Upper Berbice, is facing flak for its treatment of workers and for declaring no profits for over 12 years.
A number of gold mining companies are also under scrutiny from Cabinet, amid increasing public criticisms.
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