Wales workers protest for severance pay- Gov’t says redundant workers fully paid
The Ministry of Agriculture says it is surprised by the protest action taken by some Wales sugar workers yesterday (Monday, February 13, 2017) at the Ministry of the Presidency for their severance pay since “There is NO SEVERANCE PAYMENT OUTSTANDING.”
Workers along with representatives of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) picketed the Ministry demanding their severance pay. GAWU noted that despite utterances by GuySuCo, only some workers have received their payment while the entitlements of some others are being processed.
The Agriculture Ministry in a subsequent statement stated that GuySuCo has advised that ALL workers who had been declared redundant had accepted severance following the merging of the Wales and Uitvlugt operations and have been paid their severance IN FULL.
“This new and sudden demand for severance is most unreasonable and appears to be politically instigated” the Ministry said.
The Union on Monday also stated that it “stands in full support of the Wales workers and rejects all attempts by the GuySuCo to coerce them to take up employment at Uitvlugt.”
In this regard, the Government recognized that “the issue previously was being unemployed following the merger of the Wales and Uitvlugt factory operations” which led to the state-owned corporation making every effort to ensure that the effect would be minimized, only to now have a complete turnaround by some of the workers who are being politically instigated.
The Ministry of Agriculture calls on the union leaders and their political handlers to act responsibly and not to instigate and misguide workers into manufacturing unrealistic and unreasonable demands.
There is no option for workers who were offered alternative employment to now make demands for severance when no such offer is on the table and there is full and secure employment for them at Uitvlugt.
The Government in early 2016 advised that the Wales Sugar Estate will be closed at the end of the year and the workers and cane will be diverted to the Uitvlugt estate while the land will be used for a diversification project. This process commenced in 2016, despite the workers’ unions, the political opposition and residents of surrounding communities calling for the preservation of the Estate and by extension their livelihoods. Though the transformation process is almost complete, the Unions and some workers still continue to protest the decision.