Fired card playing GFC employees to receive full outstanding payments

Three former employees of the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) who were fired last month following a lunch-hour domino fiasco are to be paid the full benefits owed to them by the forest body.

This is according to the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) which noted in a release on Friday that the trio is expected to uplift from the Commission payments representing their terminal benefits, notice pay, annual leave entitlements, leave passage allowance and travelling allowance.

“Our Union having learnt of the workers matter, invited them to meet with the GAWU. Following an extensive engagement where the workers related what transpired and the Union offered its advice and suggestions, the workers decided they wished to receive their outstanding benefits,” GAWU said.

The workers rights body wrote the GFC on July 07, 2021, demanding the workers’ rights be respected and that they receive all benefits due to them.

GAWU said that the GFC agreed with its representation and thereafter shared the computations with the Union. It said that following receipt of the calculations, the union engaged the workers to examine collectively their respective computations.

During that engagement , it was recognized that an omission was made by the GFC and this was drawn to the Commission’s attention which it undertook to correcting the calculation.” Having cleared the obstacles, the Commission has prepared the workers payments for them to uplift ,” the union said.

The union said that the three workers have expressed their sincere appreciation to the GAWU as they have recognised the importance of the Union in protecting their rights at the workplace.

“They believed was it not for the involvement of the GAWU they may have faced greater difficulty considering they were not sure of their rights. Our Union, for its part, is heartened that the workers rights were upheld and the matter was resolved amicably and within a short period,” the union stated.

It noted that it remains convinced that only through well-organized Unions will workers have their rights respected.

The three employees are among five persons , which included two drivers , a stores clerk, a mechanic and a radio operator , whose employment were terminated last month end. The quintet said at the time that they were convinced that they were fired after they played dominoes during the lunch-hour while Minister of Natural Resources , Vickram Bharrat visited the company’s Water Street offices three Mondays ago. They noted that they stood up and acknowledged the Minister who informed them that all was well.

Nevertheless, the management of the GFC appeared upset at the incident and the five were given termination letters the within days of the incident. The radio operator was said to have been on contract and she worked with the GFC for over 20 years while the others worked for various periods ranging from 9 to 14 years. They have vowed to find other means of employment even if the GFC had offered them their jobs.

The GFC is said to be plagued by financial issues and staff noted that the environment was toxic. The forest commission is responsible for oversight and management of the country’s forestry sector.