Sugar workers picket Skeldon Estate for severance payment

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Several workers who were previously employed at the Skeldon sugar estate on Friday morning picketed the estate calling for the Government to remit the severance payments without any further delay.

In a statement released by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), the Union said it has been 273 days since Skeldon, Rose Hall and East Demerara Estates were closed and 638 days since Wales Estate met a similar fate.

The union said the fate of the estates led to difficult lives for the workers but the workers are still awaiting half of their severance benefits.

GAWU which has representatives at each estate, said the workers have exhausted the first half of their severance received earlier this year to “feed their families or send their children to school…among other things.”

“They said that they are facing troubling times and their outstanding monies will greatly assist them,” he said.

Friday’s picketing came one day after the most recent hearing of a High Court matter filed by GAWU, to have the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) pay full severance to 4,283 workers of the Skeldon, Rosehall and the East Demerara Sugar Estates.

According to GAWU, Justice Fidela Corbin-Lincoln who is the presiding Judge in the matter on Thursday requested GAWU, GuySuCo and NICIL (which is currently responsible for majority of GuySuCo’s assets) to present their arguments, in writing, within two weeks.

“On October 29, 218 she committed to making a ruling on the matter,” the union said.

The Government in July promised to pay workers’ remaining severance before the end of 2018 and Minister of State, Joseph Harmon recently reassured that the sum needed will be ready for payment when promised.

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