GuySuCo has no monies to pay 4,000 redundant workers – GAWU
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has no monies to pay out severance packages to some 4,000 workers who will be made redundant by yearend, according to the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) which met with officials from the Sugar Company on December 20, 2017.
From all indications, the workers will get paid their severance until February 2018. Only recently, President David Granger assured that the Government will ensure that the thousands of sugar workers being sent home will get their severance pay.
However, a press statement from GAWU on Thursday stated that the $6.3B in the 2018 Budget does not cater for the severance payment.
“We drew to the GuySuCo’s attention for instance that Minister of State, Joseph Harmon pointed out that a significant chunk of the State support flowing from the 2018 Budget was intended to offset the severance payments to the redundant workers. The Corporation, however, clarified this was not the case and the $6.3B allocation was intended solely and wholly to support the operations of the three (3) estates that would remain under GuySuCo’s control,” GAWU stated.
The Union further noted that it queried about the $2.5B loan the Corporation recently obtained but received no hopeful response.
“GuySuCo advised that the sum was intended to sustain its operations until the 2018 first crop commences,” GAWU explained.
GAWU said it is “dismayed” and “surprised” to learn that those affected workers will not be able to receive their payments at a pivotal time to sustain themselves and their families.
GAWU explained that in its engagement with GuySuCo, the company said that sometime earlier in the year it had advised the Government on the need for support to finance the payments and, at that time, a preliminary figure was submitted. And, then a few days ago, an updated figure to meet the payment was submitted to the Administration. The recently submitted figure, GuySuCo informed, was still not final as the Corporation’s audit department was examining the data. When pressed, GAWU related that GuySuCo said the audit process would be completed sometime in January 2018 and, thereafter the final sum required from the Government would be submitted.
“At that time, it follows, the Government would have to consider the request and, in all likelihood, approach the National Assembly for a supplementary allocation in order to meet the expenditure. That aspect will take a few weeks at least and seems that the earliest the workers would be paid could very well be towards the end of February 2018,” GAWU estimated.
“The admission by GuySuCo only serves to make matters worse as the beleaguered workers are now being told that they have no job and will not receive their legally entitled severance payments when the Corporation kicks them out on to the road on December 29, this year. This for the GAWU is most upsetting and only serves to rub salt in the wound,” GAWU stated.
As such, the Union said it recommended that GuySuCo retain the workers in suitable employment until it is in a position to honour the workers’ severance payments. Efforts made by News Room to contact officials at GuySuCo for a comment on this matter proved futile.