Retired employees of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) are rejecting a new arrangement for the collection of their pension.
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) Friday supported a picketing exercise by a group of retired employees of the outside of the LBI Community Centre.
The new payment arrangement would see the pension being paid through commercial banks as opposed to having the pensioners uplift the cash at various centres.
According to a statement from the Union, the pensioners are extremely dismayed at attempts by the State-owned Sugar Company to demand that their pensions be sent to the commercial banks for payments.
Currently, the pensioners would collect their pensions weekly, and in some cases monthly, from a number of centres close to where they reside. This arrangement has been in place for decades now.
“The pensioners are strongly contending that the arbitrary change in the payment mechanism places additional burdens on them,” GAWU stated.
It pointed out that for instance, the pensioners would be required to travel to the nearest bank to collect their pension sums “which for some of them is a very meagre amount, to begin with”.
GAWU explained that for those pensioners who do not have bank accounts, “we need not explain the travails one has to go through nowadays to open an account”.
According to the Union, some pensioners say they lack certain essential pre-requisites like TIN certificates or proof of address as they reside with their children.
“Some even have the real difficulty of having sufficient sums to satisfy the minimum balance to open a bank account. This new arrangement is being imposed in circumstances of rising crime where the aged and pensioners are also vulnerable, a factor to consider and not to be easily dismissed,” GAWU said.
The Union contended that the treatment of these former sugar workers whose “energies and dedication” helped to build the sugar industry and contributed to nation building is “disheartening and disturbing”.