Sugar workers attached to the Albion and Blairmont estates launched protest action today, threatening to down tools if their demands for salary and wage increases are not met.
In a statement on Monday, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union stated that the sugar company, GUYSUCO has been slothfull in addressing the issue of salary increases.
According to the sugar union, it had resumed talks with Guysuco with hopes to address the issue, but so far Guysuco has not made any movement to bring the matter to an end.
“At those meetings, the GAWU reiterated that the discussions surrounding pay rise for 2019 remained unresolved and therefore discussions ought to have begun from that point. During the engagements, GuySuCo acknowledged the GAWU’s contention. The Corporation sought the Union and the workers to exercise patience to allow it to engage in consultations with a view to finding a solution.” Gawu said in its statement.
The union said it had reach an agreement with the workers to give the new management of Guysuco an opportunity towards finding a solution to the impasse, but the sugar corporation did not budge.
“Unfortunately, days turned into weeks and then into months as the workers and the Union waited to hear from the Corporation. In a correspondence on January 28, 2021, the GAWU reminded the Corporation of its undertaking to respond to the Union and the workers. The Corporation, at that time, communicated that it was still engaged in consultations. At a meeting on March 09, 2021, the GAWU and the GuySuCo resumed discussions. At that time, given the protracted period, the Union and the workers had high expectations that it would have received a firm position from the GuySuCo. That expectation was dashed as the Corporation sought the Union to table proposals on wages/salaries for years 2019, 2020, and 2021. The GAWU’s delegation, which comprised representatives from the various estates along with Union officials, was most upset as it pointed out that the GuySuCo was already in receipt of proposals for years 2019 and 2020. Therefore, it found the request bizarre and bluntly refused to accede to GuySuCo’s demand.” The statement further noted.
The workers are also calling on Guysuco to award them for their production achievement on the week-ending March 13, 2021.
Albion Estate realized approximately 92% of its weekly target and the and the workers are demanding a half day’s pay as Weekly Production Incentive.
The Albion workers pointed out that in the week prior when Uitvlugt Estate also achieved 92% of its weekly target, the Corporation approved a similar payment. Subsequently, the Uitvlugt workers received a full day’s pay after GuySuCo approved a reduction in the weekly production target similar to what was previously approved for Albion and Blairmont Estates. The Albion workers are, therefore, seeking that the precedent be upheld.
GAWU said it hopes good sense prevails and Guysuco can resolve the issue soonest so that the workers can benefit from their increases.