As the third day of the budget debate continued on the inside of Parliament, scores of former sugar workers from the Uitvlugt and Wales estate gathered on the outside to demand their severance packages. Some other sugar workers from Albion and Blairmont joined the protest to demand salary increases.
The workers claimed that while many sugar workers have been paid their severance packages, they are still owed money and they would like to be paid now.
With loud chants that triggered an increased Police presence, those workers who were retrenched said they want their severance and not excuses.
The other group of sugar workers who still have their jobs, explained that their concern is about the recent increase offered to public servants. They said they should get the increase also.
The sugar workers were joined by the Opposition Leader and other Members of the Opposition who said it would only be fair that those workers who are still owed money, receive their severance and those who are still in the industry be offered increases.
In an interview, PPP Member of Parliament and Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) President Komal Chand, noted that even at a time when the cost-of-living continues to climb, sugar workers are not beneficiaries of increases to their salaries.
As for those from the Uitvlugt and Wales estates, Mr. Chand said when the Wales estate was shut down, the workers should have been offered full severance.
The Government has said that it would only pay severance to those workers who were laid off and not the others who were transferred to other estates.