Rusal refuses meeting with Gov’t after firing workers

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Bauxite workers attached to the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI), a subsidiary of RUSAL, was this morning officially relieved of their duties by the company.

Sixty-one machine operators, mechanics, drillers and dispatchers were issued with dismissal notices on Monday after they protested what they describe an “unfair” 1 per cent increase in their wages and salaries.

Rusal halted its operations after the workers began protesting on Friday last. The Department of Labour under the Ministry of Social Protection called a meeting with Rusal and the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union on Monday morning, however, no one from the company turned up at the meeting.

The Union told the Ministry that the workers are demanding at least a 15% increase. The workers have been asking for a favourable increase for about two years now.

The workers are calling on President David Granger to personally intervene and the employees refuse to move from the mines.

“We are asking the President himself to intervene into the matter. The situation still remains the same, we are not going to work and we are no coming off the premises until the matter is resolved,” one employee told News Room.

In a letter issued to the workers late Friday afternoon, the Managing Director of Rusal, Valerii Vinokurov informed the workers attached to the Mining Department/Mobile Equipment Maintenances that the operations at the mines have been brought to a stop until further notice.

“All affected workers are asked to leave the premises of the company with immediate effect,” the letter stated.

Some of the affected workers

The bauxite mine located in Aroaima, Region 10.

Meanwhile, the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union said in a statement on Sunday, “120 bauxite workers, including their families, who permanently reside in the residential location at Aroaima, owned by BCGI were issued an edict, via circular, last Friday afternoon (15th February) to immediately vacate the community.”

The statement further said, “the Russian management of BCGI must not be allowed to exploit our resources and in the process violate Guyanese and disrespect our Laws. Not here in Guyana!”

The Union said the company hired buses to have the families removed.

According to the Union, “Government of Guyana has joint shareholding interest in BCGI. It must be mindful that whatever is being done by management is also done in its name. Guyanese, home and in the diaspora, must not countenance the continued violations.”

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