Yesterday, operations across the sugar industry were significantly affected as thousands of sugar workers from Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt Estates as well as the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Research Unit, stayed away from work to protest an unfair increase in pay being offered by the GuySuCo.
Over the last three weeks, the GAWU and the sugar company have been engaged in negotiations regarding improvement in workers’ pay rates which have been frozen since 2015.
While the Union and the Corporation have been able to reach agreement on several matters, the state-owned GuySuCo has been insisting that the improvements be implemented from January 1, this year.
The union and the workers, contend that any increase must be retroactive to January 1, 2019.
This, the union explained, takes into account that the discussions have its roots in the Union’s claims for 2019 and as such any agreement reached on the matter must be implemented from the beginning of the said year.
Further, GAWU has stated that GuySuCo is well aware of this practice yet it continues to disregard it.
“It appears to us that GuySuCo is attempting to impose the pay rise though it has not been fully endorsed by the workers and their unions…The insistence of GuySuCo for the workers to swallow a pay rise effective at the beginning of this year is really, in our view, a two-card trick.”
While the Corporation may well believe its approach is novel, the workers have recognised that the company, by its desire, is telling the workers zero increase for 2019, the union added .
At the same time, it will prevent them from bargaining from any further improvement for 2020 irrespective of changes in the cost-of-living, among other things, a press release from the union stated.
According to the union, retroactive payments based on the current proposal for last year will be in the vicinity of $400M. The retroactive payments would work out to just over $50,000 per worker. That is very much below the touted one-month’s pay public sector workers received as retroactive pay last year.
The workers are seeking that the Administration engages GuySuCo to positively address their pay rise.
A number of workers converged outside of the Ministry of the Presidency engaging in a picketing exercise to call on the President and his Government to address, meaningfully, their call.
The protest outside President David Granger’s office was met with what seemed to be an attempt to minimise activity by the security forces.
The release stated, “Prior to the commencement of the exercise, it was observed, that all the streets around the Ministry of the Presidency complex were barricaded and manned by a large number of police officers including what appeared to be a quite a few senior officers.
“Officials of the Union were told by the officers that the Ministry of the Presidency was a deemed restricted area and the protesters would not be allowed to stage their picketing exercise in close proximity to the complex.
“When we asked about who ordered such an elaborate exercise, we were met with silence.”
Apr 06, 2020By Zaheer Mohamed Port Kaituma Football Foundation (PKFF) is one of the leading sports organisations in Region One. The body was formed in 2009 with the aim of developing sports in the area. Its...
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]