While agreeing that the problems facing the Guyana sugar industry did not start under the current government, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo believes that it is still “unconscionable” for Guysuco to announce that it cannot offer its workers any salary increases for a second consecutive year.
One day after Guysuco informed the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union that it is facing $16 Billion in losses this year and cannot afford any increases, Mr. Jagdeo told a PPP Freedom House press conference that the government should find money to pay salary increases for the sugar workers.
He said the government “has been finding money to do all kinds of things”, and therefore needs to find money to pay increases to sugar workers.
Mr. Jagdeo, however, noted that the problems facing the Guyana Sugar Corporation started under his party’s time in government when the European Union slashed the prices for sugar. That move resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for Guyana.
In a statement yesterday, Guysuco explained that it is already facing losses of $16 Billion for this year and faced with losses of over $30 Billion over the past two years, the company is not in a position to offer salary increases.
Guysuco says it has already made clear its position to the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union. GAWU has not yet formally responded to the statement but sugar workers are likely to be upset with the move not to offer them salary increases for the second year running.
The state owned sugar corporation has been attempting for the past several years to trigger a turn around in its fortunes but those plans have not brought much success.
Sugar estates that have not been performing well have faced closures as management of the company continues efforts to cut spending and increase productivity.