The Guyana Trades Union Congress in a strongly worded statement today, said both the current APNU+AFC government and the former PPP Civic government must accept and share responsibility for the way the Russian managed, Rusal bauxite company continues to treat its Guyanese workers.
The statement comes against the backdrop of the company’s decision to fire 61 of its workers after they went on a strike action to protest a 1% increase in their salaries.
The umbrella trade union body said Over the years, successive political administrations “have sat on their hands continually, indifferent to the various and repeated instances” in which the company management trampled on the rights of the workers.
According to the GTUC, the struggle to push back against the “tyranny” of the RUSAL managers at the bauxite company is not a partisan political struggle, but a struggle for the dignity and sovereignty of Guyana against an oppressor.
“Accordingly, and whatever political differences might obtain at this time, the company’s Russian management and RUSAL as a whole must be left under no illusions regarding the unified nature of our struggle to bring an end to this tyranny”, the GTUC said.
The GTUC is now calling for robust and unambiguous public statements from both the Government of Guyana and the Opposition, condemning the dismissal of the striking workers and calling on the management of the company to respect the laws of Guyana with regard to trade union membership and the rights and entitlements of workers.
Additionally, the union body wants to see an immediate meeting between Government and the management of the bauxite company to follow through on details surrounding their public call and the re-establishment of clear guidelines and understanding of RUSAL’s need for compliance with all of Guyana’s industrial laws and practices.
The GTUC said there must be the unconditional reinstatement of the dismissed workers and the company must respect the workers’ recognised Union of choice.
Yesterday, company officials met with the Chief Labour Officer and his team, as the Labour Department launched its probe of the dismissals.
The company is claiming that the strike by the workers was unjustifiable and the group never bothered to consider the impact of their strike on the company’s operations.
The fired workers have refused to leave the company’s Berbice river operations and supporting residents of nearby communities have also joined the protest and have been blocking roads that lead to the bauxite company operations.