East Demerara cane planters picket GuySuCo Head Office

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This morning (April 12, 2017), a number of cane planters along with officials of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) staged a picketing exercise outside of the Head Office of the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo).

The activity is a continuation of workers call to dissuade the Administration and GuySuCo from closing the estate.

According to GAWU, it has now five (5) weeks since they have been able to work following a decision by the sugar corporation to cease planting at the estate.

The workers carrying placards with slogans including ‘Closure of Enmore Estate spells disaster for workers and their families’, ‘Cane planters are not cane cutters – give us our normal work!’, ‘We oppose closure of Enmore Estate!’, ‘Closure means more misery and suffering for us!’, ‘We planters are demanding pay in lieu of work’ and ‘Mr Hanoman’s salary can buy food for our children’, are calling on the GuySuCo to provide them with their normal tasks or to pay them in lieu of the Corporation’s denial.

The Union said GuySuCo is adamantly, and wrongly, maintaining that the planters must take up cane cutting tasks which are a difficult undertaking for many planters.

“Also in instances when cane planting is unavailable, the planters are offered certain other tasks which are currently available on the estate but are not being offered to the affected workers. Such denial is not in keeping with the agreement between the Union and the Company and is another disrespect meted out by the Corporation to its hard-working employees,” GAWU added.

The planters are also upset that a request by GAWU to engage the Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder remains unanswered.

The Union’s request to Minister Holder followed an engagement between the planters and the Union with Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection, Keith Scott on March 27, 2017. During that engagement Minister Scott had suggested that an audience with the Agriculture Minister be sought. The Union and the workers positively considered Minister Scott’s suggestion. However, so far, we are yet to hear from the Agriculture Minister.

GAWU reiterated its position that the halting of cane planting is indicating that plans are being made for the Estate’s closure.

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