Albion, Blairmont sugar workers protest stalled wage negotiation

Sugar workers are again protesting the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc’s (GuySuCo) seeming disinterest in resuming wage negotiations with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU).

The wage negotiations date back to 2019.

Workers at the Albion and Blairmont Sugar Estates on Monday morning mounted a protest, two days after workers at the Uitvlugt Estate, calling on the state-owned sugar company to address the long-outstanding dispute in earnest.

According to a statement from GAWU, “the workers are peeved that the sugar corporation has remained mum on the matter. They believe that the company is not treating with the issue with the seriousness required.”

Discussions between the Union and GuySuCo resumed on March 09, 2021, where the Corporation sought the Union to table proposals on wages/salaries for years 2019, 2020, and 2021. However, at that meeting, GAWU pointed out that proposals were already made for 2019 and 2021 leaving GuySuCo to provide a response at the end of April; that response has not yet been received.

GAWU said on Monday that “half of April has gone by the GuySuCo has yet to make its position known,” adding that the workers believe that it is possible for an agreement to be reached.

The Union sought to rubbish claims published in the media that a requested 5% increase for 2019 will require some $1.5 billion annually, noting that “This disclosure is wildly inaccurate.”

In media reports, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha shared that the government would seek to work with GuySuCo to see what could be done.

The workers and the Union remain hopeful that the Corporation can return to the bargaining table and return with clean hands, GAWU said.