The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), yesterday, disclosed that President David Granger has referred sugar workers’ petition for a pay increase to the Agriculture Ministry.
According to the union “… A few hours after it issued a statement on January 14, last, regarding President David Granger’s non-response to a follow-up letter to enquire about the status of the sugar workers petition, (it) received a correspondence dated January 13 signed by the President’s secretary. Through the correspondence, the GAWU and by extension the sugar workers have been informed that the President has referred the matter to Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder.”
The union said that the President’s secretary has advised that the union will hear from the Minister of Agriculture on the matter.
“We note with interest that the President chose to reply through his secretary which no doubt, in our view, says a lot about the regard he has for the workers’ petition. The GAWU, on several occasions, has pointed to the glaring lack of concern the Coalition administration has for the sugar industry.”
GAWU insisted that this is not the first time that correspondence addressed to the President have not been frontally addressed by him but is referred to one of his Ministers.
“While Mr Granger obviously can decide how to address a matter, our experience has been that matters referred to other Ministers by the President are hardly ever addressed, at least positively.
“Of course, we believe that the President could have fully addressed the matter as we are aware that he has been presented with proposals from the GuySuCo regarding the pay rise matter. The fact that he has chosen to take the focus away from him is a mouthful in itself.”
The union said it is not heartened with the Ministry’s handling the matter.
“…We have seen a GuySuCo report wherein the CEO advised the Board that, “…the Corporation is working closely with the Minister of Agriculture to arrive at a solution to the Corporation’s cash flow problems and the Corporation was assured that there would be some relief which would stem from discussions with the Ministers of Finance and the President.”
The union said that the Government has no intention to assist the sugar workers, who number more than 10,000.
They have not benefitted from any rise in pay since the Coalition took office.
“It is saddening to see the workers being treated with such derision especially when senior actors in the Coalition had promised them not only to preserve their jobs but to approve substantial pay hikes in the region of 20 per cent.”
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