The Guyana Bauxite and General Workers (GB&GWU) is calling on the Attorney General’s Chambers to treat the situation with RUSAL as a matter of urgency.
The Union in a press release said that it “seeks resolution to the impasse and calls for arbitration…”
“As reported in a section of the media, the Department of Labour is awaiting advice from Attorney General Basil William S.C. in determining the way forward.”
The tension among the parties is as a result of RUSAL laying off all of its workers due to claims of a shortage of fuel. In retaliation, the Union had blocked the Berbice River to hinder the flow of traffic to and from the Company’s mining operations at Kurubuka Mines.
GB&GWU added in its statement that it is “putting the government on notice that it is willing to have faith in their declared intent to resolve the impasse with the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BCGI).”
“Recent media statements by Minister Amna Ally that she is convinced the dispute is heading for arbitration and the Government is on the workers’ side are encouraging. The Union urges these be translated to action.
“Whereas from the outset workers knew the side they have been on is the right side by demanding the laws be applied in arriving at resolution to their grievances, time in ensuring this is also of essence.”
It further stated, “This year begins the second decade of the dispute. Since last year the Union has been calling for arbitration given BCGI dilatory tactic that has been enabled by certain functionaries in the Department of Labour who have demonstrated to date they have been rendered ineffective in handling the matter.
“This view is strongly held, even moreso on the eve of General and Regional Elections, where recent antics by the RUSAL management of BCGI suggest a desire to create an unstable environment to influence our elections one way or the other.
“No expatriate company must be allowed to think it could adversely influence our laws and the will of the people. Such outside interference must be condemned by all.”
The press release added that it has been the failure of both the past and current Governments to address this issue.
“This impasse has entered its eleventh year and it is time for substantive deliverables. It began under the PPP administration who tolerated the management misconduct.
“For almost five years of the coalition administration Minister Keith Scott, who has responsibility for Labour, has had this matter to resolve and has fallen short. The Union reiterates it has no confidence in Minister Scott.
“Some personnel in the Department of Labour are incompetent… Ten (10) years to follow the Rule of Law is too long and it suggests to us there has been willful effort by some to sabotage the success of the Union and welfare of workers in resolving the industrial dispute with BCGI.
“Even at this point in time as some improvement is being shown efforts are being made to stymie the process. That so many hundreds of Guyanese brothers and sisters and their families could have suffered for all these years as they struggle for the Laws of Guyana to be applied remains a shame and serious indictment on our political regimes. ” it stated.
Additionally, the “GB&GWU has stated that it is prepared to renew its confidence in Minister Ally’s intervention, interest and willingness to resolve this dispute in the interest of our most vulnerable group, the workers of this country upon whom production hinges.
“The Union has no choice but to place confidence in the resolution of our grievance because:-1) the law is on our side and, 2) at the end of the day it is the ministry and this government that would be responsible to ensure the law is upheld.”
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