Unions resist move for Holder to control GuySuCo
Two leading trade union umbrella bodies are opposing attempts to have Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder resume control of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
In a joint press statement Friday, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) and the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) said it cannot support such a move recognising the “clear failure” of the industry under Holder’s leadership.
In February 2018, the Government had announced that GuySuCo is no longer under the purview of the Ministry of Agriculture; it was placed under the management of the Ministry of Finance.
Recalling that it was under Holder’s leadership that sugar production declined by 40% despite support from the State, the Unions said GuySuCo is too important to be placed back in the hands of such “ruinous leadership”.
FITUG and GTUC contend that moving in such a direction would only inflict further harm on the sugar industry which is now nearly four centuries old.
A Special Purpose Unit (SPU) of the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) is currently handling the affairs of GuySuCo.
So far, three sugar estates have been shut down but the entity has secured a $30B syndicated bond to restart the operations at the closed estates. There are reports that some 1,000 retrenched workers were rehired for this purpose.
The Unions said while they are pleased, they are concerned with this temporary arrangement.
“Our bodies call on those contractors to ensure that workers NIS payments are honoured and, that as we celebrate Occupational Safety and Health month, the re-employed workers receive Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We also look forward to other rights which are either guaranteed through our local laws and international conventions being upheld,” the Unions expressed.