GAWU moves to court for sugar workers’ full severance

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The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) has filed an application in the High Court to have the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) pay full severance to 4,283 workers of the Skeldon, Rosehall and the East Demerara Sugar Estates.

The workers were made redundant following the closure of the sugar estates at the end of 2017.

The application which is filed in the name of GAWU’s General Secretary, Seepaul Narine is seeking a declaration that the workers are entitled to their severance payments and an order directing GuySuCo to make the payments “forthwith.”

The second respondent in the case is National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) which currently holds all assets of GuySuCo.

In court documents circulated to the media, it was noted that the application was filed on the grounds that in accordance with Section 21 of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act and the dismissal letters issued, the workers were to receive their redundancy allowance/ severance payment not later than December 29, 2017.

To date, the said workers were paid only a portion of their severance.

GAWU is represented by Attorneys, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, Manoj Narayan, Sasha S. Mahadeo-Narayan, Rajendra R. Jaigobin and Anuradha Deodasingh,

Earlier this year, the Government said it under-budgeted by some $3.5 billion for the payment of severance to the sugar workers and therefore, they will receive half of their payment in the first half of 2018 and the remainder in the second half of the year.

The case will be heard on July 20 before Justice F. Corbin-Lincoln.

The Union previously filed an application for sacked sugar workers of the Wales Estate on the West Bank of Demerara to receive their severance. GAWU secured an injunction in May 2016, stopping GuySuCo from terminating the employment of workers of the Wales Estate.

The Corporation subsequently contended that the injunction is blocking them from paying the severance but GAWU argued otherwise.

The Union Head had proposed that GAWU is willing to drop the matter in the court once GuySuCo agrees to pay the workers.

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