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Sugar workers picket GuySuCo over wage increase

Sugar workers picket GuySuCo over wage increase
Sugar workers at the Blairmont and Albion Estates on Monday morning mounted picketing exercises outside of the administrative offices calling on the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) to fast-track wage/salary negotiations.

According to a statement from the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), it has been several months now since the Union and GuySuCo resumed discussions on wage/salary improvements and yet it appears there has not been any movement on the part of the Corporation.

GAWU said at the meeting, the Union reiterated that the discussions surrounding pay rise for 2019 remained unresolved and therefore discussions ought to have begun from that point.

Though the Union initially agreed to exercise patience, it noted that “days turned into weeks and then into months as the workers and the Union waited to hear from the Corporation.”

Discussions between the two agencies resumed on March 09, 2021.

The Union said it had high expectations that it would have received a firm position from the GuySuCo but this was dashed as the Corporation sought the Union to table proposals on wages/salaries for years 2019, 2020, and 2021 despite the proposals for the former years were already submitted.

The workers vexations were heightened after the Corporation, maybe inadvertently, disclosed that quantum of pay rise proposed for 2021 but yet refused to put it on the table.

“The workers apprehensions have grown stronger after they learnt of seeming aggrandizement at certain levels of the Corporation’s hierarchy while they are being told to hold on and be patient,” GAWU said.

On that score, the workers of Albion Estate also called on the Corporation to appropriately award them for their production achievement on week-ending March 13, 2021.

Albion Estate realized approximately 92% of its weekly target 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.

The Union and the thousands of sugar workers remain committed to the success of the sugar industry. However, GAWU said it recognise too that the workers also play a critical role in the attainment of that success and, therefore, the procrastination seen cannot be helpful in this regard.

“We urge that better sense prevail as the Management and the workers and the Union work collectively to restore the sugar industry which had been badly battered during the term of the Coalition. We believe on the wages issue, a settlement is within reach,” GAWU noted.