GAWU condemns GUYSUCO’s refusal of paid release of workers to attend Congress
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) is condemning the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s (GUYSUCO) denial of the paid release of delegates coming from the various sugar estates attend the Union’s 21st Delegates Congress slated to be held on August 20,22 and 23, 2016, West Coast Berbice.
GAWU in a press release issued today said as customary a letter was dispatched to GUYSUCO on July 7, 2016, in which it sought a meeting with the Sugar Corporation to discuss the release of workers to attend the Congress. That letter, GAWU said was not acknowledged by the Corporation.
It alleges that another letter dated August 09, 2016 with the names of those workers who would be attending the Congress and eligible for the customary assistance was dispatched.
According to GAWU “the Corporation promptly responded by letter dated August 11, 2016, saying that it would not facilitate the paid-release of the delegates coming from the various estates and would not assist in their transportation from the estate locations to the Congress venue. ”
It was reported to the Union that the financial situation has restricted the Corporation from approving the release of the workers and assisting in transportation.
“The GAWU Congress held once every three (3) years, must be convened in order for the Union to remain a properly constituted trade union, an important legal requirement and a measure upholding the Corporation and Union relationship. In the circumstance, the Union is of the firm view that as has been the practice the Corporation should be fully supportive of the Union’s Congresses,” the statement says.
The union also views GUYSUCO’s present position as nothing but a “form of union-busting and follows an anti-worker tendency. The paid-release of workers in the Trade Union Movement by employers is a benefit that goes back many years and which was won through struggles.”
GAWU further notes that “as in the past, and presently as well, enterprises in the private and public sectors would release workers to attend their Union’s Congresses and Conferences. It is, therefore, incongruous of GuySuCo to adopt this anti-sugar worker and anti-GAWU decision. Indeed, it seems, sugar workers and GAWU are identified for discriminatory and strong-arm treatment. Such treatment is an ominous sign and does not augur well for the industry.”
GUYSUCO, the Union believes, cannot convincingly justify the withholding of the customary support to delegates attending the Union’s Congress.
“Our Union maintains that GuySuCo has an obligation to meet reasonable requests with respect to workers’ welfare matters. Our Congress as is widely known will collectively discuss issues of concern to the industry, to the workers and to the nation as a whole. Enlightened employers and caring governments would, as a rule, encourage such hallmark activities in an industry and a country’s life. It is a democratic right and a value to be promoted.”
GAWU is calling for the condemnation of GUYSUCO’s action in this regard and expressed its intent to pursue the matter with firmness and widely.
” It is becoming clearer with these anti-workers actions the authorities have sugar workers in their sight, undermining of our fragile democracy is now creeping into the Trade Union movement,” it posited.