Final severance for sugar workers before year-end – Harmon

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Even as the Government recommits to distributing the remaining severance to retrenched sugar workers, the parliamentary opposition is hoping the court sets a deadline in which to make the payments.

The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) – which represents sugar workers – had filed an application in the High Court to have the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) pay the full severance to 4,283 workers who lost their jobs last year.

But this decision sparked some concerns in the sugar belt given that retrenched workers of the now-closed Wales Estate are yet to receive a dime of their severance because of an action in the court.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, however, supports the move to the court, saying that the outcome could force the Government to pay severance sooner than it had intended.

He explained that if the Government refuses to pay the remaining severance because of the court action, GAWU can always withdraw the application.

Following the closure of three sugar estates late last year, the sacked workers received only half of their severance. Only a few received their full severance.

The Government had promised to make the outstanding payments in the second half of the year.

On Thursday, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said the government was committed to meeting its promise to pay sugar workers the second and final half of their severance within this half of the year.

He, however, did not specify when the payments will be made.

Approximately $1.9 million was approved by the National Assembly to meet the first tranche of severance pay to the thousands of sugar workers.

Those workers who were entitled to $500,000 or less were given their full payments while the others were only given half.

Meanwhile, the union’s court case comes up on July 20, 2018, before Justice F. Corbin-Lincoln. The application was filed by Attorneys Anil Nandlall, Manoj Narayan, Sasha S. Mahadeo-Narayan, Rajendra R. Jaigobin and Anuradha Deodasingh.

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