Guyana Goldfields has announced that it has temporarily suspended its operations at its Aurora Mine site as workers continued a protest action by staying away from the job.
In a statement, the company said a portion of the workforce blocked delivery of ore to the mill and that triggered the decision to halt operations and evacuate all non-essential workers from the site.
The Company said it believes the stoppage was the result of a misunderstanding concerning the management and relationship between Aurora Gold Mines and certain open pit mining contractors.
It said AGM has been examining options to improve mining performance in order to ensure Aurora’s long-term future, but “no decisions have been made concerning any possible changes to the mining operation at this time”.
Guyana Goldfields said it is actively working along with its employees and adhering to applicable laws and regulations and is facilitating communication with the relevant Governmental labour authorities to understand and address employees’ concerns and to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.
The Company said it is also making arrangements to have the strikers meet with representatives of the Ministry of Labour to mediate the dispute.
Scores of the workers were flown out to the city today as the company halted some of its operations.
News Source was contacted by some of the workers after they arrived in Georgetown and they agreed to speak to us once their identities would not be revealed.
One worker explained that following the decision yesterday by more than 100 workers to stay off of the job, the internet service that is provided by the company was discontinued and many of them could not make contact with their family.
“This is getting serious. They just turned off the internet to prevent us from calling out of the area or sending messages from the area because we started the sit-in action”, one worker told News Source.
He said in addition to the internet service being disrupted, those workers who stayed off of the job were only provided with one late night meal.
“Some managers have been saying that we should all leave the area since we are striking and that they will just halt operations and allow us to leave until the issues are settled”, another worker explained.
The workers started their protest action yesterday to press the company to allow them to be unionized. They also want the company to address other concerns.
Some of the workers have indicated that they want to be represented by the National Mine Workers Union. But representatives of the Union have not been able to visit the mining location to meet with the workers.
The President of the union, Sherwyn Downer, told News Source that he has since contacted the Chief Labour Officer on the concerns of the workers.
Guyana Goldfields is a Canadian company which conducts gold mining operations in the Aurora area in Region Seven. Over 700 Guyanese are in the company’s employ.