“It’s not a joking situation” – RUSAL unhappy, meets with Gov’t
Representatives of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) – a subsidiary of the Russian Aluminum company – RUSAL on Tuesday met with the Department of Labour, days after firing 61 mining workers.
“I hope we shall find a solution, we shall find a compromise,” RUSAL’s representative Vladimir Permyakov said after the two-hour meeting with officials of the Labour Department.
However, he did not indicate whether this means the 61 workers fired by the company last week will be rehired.
The workers who went on strike last Friday are demanding a 15% wage increase and are calling on President David Granger to intervene. The company offered a unilateral one per cent increase in wages and salaries.
“We can’t act voluntarily, everything depends on our production,” the RUSAL official said.
The employees were later given termination letters for failing to turn up to work.
Despite the meeting, Permyakov was visibly peeved at the workers’ actions.
“It’s not a joking situation at all. I repeat we are not happy,” he told reporters.
The RUSAL representative noted that efforts were made to coerce the workers to return to work before they were terminated.
“It’s a big error not to listen to the management, not to abide by your contractual obligations. I had to do so, everybody (had to), unfortunately, they refused,” he said.
He contended that the workers of the Mining Department breached their contracts by not showing up to work as this affects the entire operations of the company.
Permyakov said the management of the Russian company is “very concerned” about the strike action since it affects its entire operation.
“Our management is very concerned when big group of people…one part of the group is absent, the whole production or the whole mining process…(are affected),” he said.
In a statement to the News Room on Tuesday, BCGI had noted that it is considering shutting down its operations in Guyana should the situation persist.
The company also threatened to institute appropriate disciplinary measures against the workers absent from the workplace with no legal reason. (Bibi Khatoon)