By Isanella Patoir
The Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated – a subsidiary of the Russian Aluminum company – RUSAL has officially informed the Government of Guyana that it will not reinstate over 60 workers who were recently fired.
The company has also laid off 30 additional employees without pay.
RUSAL’s Country Representative to Guyana, Vladimir Permyakov said the company temporarily dismissed some 30 workers and it is not the fault of the workers.
He said that the company temporarily closed some departments since the strike.
However, Permyakov said despite the current situation the company is truly open and transparent.
Representatives of the company met with Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, Minister Keith Scott of the Department of Labour and Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle on Tuesday at the Ministry’s Lamaha Street, Georgetown Office.
RUSAL’s Company Representative in Guyana made it clear that they will not reinstate the 61 employees they fired on February 15 because those workers breached their contracts with the company.
“The fact is all 61 workers who took place in this mass disruption of labour and violation of their contracts and regulations were fired,” he told the media.
The employees had commenced strike action in protest of a unilateral one percent increase in their salaries.
RUSAL had to cease its operations after the employees refused to work.
At the meeting on Tuesday, it was revealed that RUSAL will now start hiring new persons on Friday (March 01, 2019).
“As a gesture of goodwill and attempt to normalize the work of BCGI, company administration is inviting persons to come to mine site and to start their works from Friday,” Permyakov said.
It was further revealed by the RUSAL representatives that the employees who were terminated have allegedly threatened other employees on the mines forcing the company to ask the Government for protection for these workers.
Minister Ally said it is very clear that the company does not want a friendly solution to this matter as she also believes RUSAL is being “unreasonable.”
“It is unthinkable for the positions that you have taken on this issue. It is very clear that you do not want an amicable solution to this matter. You have put on the table issues to the government of Guyana which says take it or leave it,” Minister Ally said.
She said the company is punishing the workers rather than looking to settle the dispute and that Government will not allow the workers to be treated in such manner.
“This is unacceptable for workers to be punished in this respect. And I must say to you that the government of Guyana will be going to the lengths to examine this issue with regards to operations and workers at this company,” the Minister of Social Protection said.
RUSAL also clarified that it never promised to reinstate the workers at a meeting with Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.
The Company explained that the Government requested that the employees are reinstated but representatives of the company said it needed to speak with their superiors before a decision is made.
According to RUSAL an average worker’s salary is $259,000.