IUF issues official statement in solidarity with Guyana’s sugar workers
The following statement was unanimously approved by thirty-five (35) delegates representing Trade Unions in Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Grenada, Guyana, St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago who attended the 5th Caribbean Regional Conference of the IUF on January 18, 2017
Solidarity with the Guyana’s Sugar Workers
We, the delegates, attending this 5th Caribbean Regional Conference of the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Association (IUF) being held in Guyana on January 18, 2017 express our full and unstinted solidarity with the Guyanese sugar workers and their representative organisations during this challenging period.
We roundly condemn the rollback of workers gains won through long and arduous struggles; the disregard of national laws and agreements; the disrespect shown to long-standing and time-honoured norms, conventions and principles, among the other injustices that have been meted out by the state-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) in recent times. We call on the GuySuCo and the Government of Guyana, as the owner of the industry, to ensure that the sugar workers’ rights, conditions and benefits are respected and upheld at all times.
We denounce too the closure of the Wales Estate which has placed livelihoods of many Guyanese at grave risk and urge that the closure decision be withdrawn, even at this late stage. We must express, as well, our strongest condemnation over plans and proposals that will, in effect, cause further estate closures and sell-out and, if pursued, will see the many thousands of Guyanese facing a most uncertain and bleak future.
The sugar industry, we recognize, represents an important pillar of the Guyanese economy and plays a manifold role in the society. Moreover, the industry, we are aware, is capable of surmounting its present challenges and can play an even more significant role in Guyana. At this time, we reiterate our fullest solidarity with the thousands of sugar workers and their Unions.We call on the Government of Guyana and the GuySuCo to engage in meaningful discussions with the Unions with a view to safeguard the sugar industry and to protect jobs.