Well after ignoring the legitimacy of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union for several years, the Russian managed, RUSAL Bauxite Company has agreed to recognise the Union as it prepares for talks to settle the concerns of workers.
This morning Union officials met with officials of RUSAL at the Labour Department, and according to Trade Unionist, Lincoln Lewis, the two sides will now have to work together in the interest of the workers.
Lewis said there is a need for more trust from both the company and the union that is representing the interest of the workers.
The recognition of the union is a major step forward, as the company has consistently refused to meet with the union to address grievances by its workers.
The Government has been telling the company that it needs to recognise the rights of the workers and their union representatives in keeping with the laws of Guyana.
The two sides will meet again this coming Friday and the Bauxite Workers Union is expected to present a list of the issues it wants to discuss by Wednesday.
Those issues will include the recent firing of 61 workers over a strike action at the company.
“We believe that this exercise will be one that deals with the building of trust and confidence in the relationship because it is necessary for both sides, the union and the company”, Lewis said.
That firing and the company’s refusal to rehire the workers have led to three weeks of protest by the workers and residents of the Upper Berbice river area.
Residents and the workers have been blocking the river way to prevent barges from going into the company’s location to uplift bauxite shipments.
RUSAL has complained that the protest is costing it $1 million per day. The company has been refusing to rehire the 61 workers even as the Government has threatened its operations in Guyana over its treatment of Guyanese workers.