Workers move to block Russian bauxite barge in Berbice River

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Workers fired by the Russian bauxite company RUSAL and others supporting them have moved to block the movement of the company’s barges from going in and out of the Berbice River.

The action is a desperate attempt to force an early resolution of the crisis.

“They (RUSAL) would try to drag it out as long as their bauxite is shipping and loading; we hope this would slow them down and they would come to a decision quickly,” one worker told News Room.

He asked not to be named. 

News Room understands that workers have placed ropes across the river, saying it would not be worth the risk for the company to attempt to move its barges through.

Those taking part in the action say that if the company can load and ship bauxite out of Guyana, it will see no need to resolve the issue.

Those taking part in the action say that if the company can load and ship bauxite out of Guyana, it will see no need to resolve the issue.

The workers started the action to block the river after they learnt that at a meeting with Minister Amna Ally the company made it clear they would not reinstate the workers who were fired.

The Government is uncertain of what the next move by the company would be.

Minister Amna Ally said the actions of the company to dismiss the workers was unacceptable and has asked that they be reinstated.

RUSAL’s local subsidiary operates the bauxite mines in the Berbice River and employs about 540 workers.

RUSAL founded a local subsidiary here in 2004 and two years later acquired the assets of the Aroaima Mining company in an agreement with the government.

The company was given licences to develop bauxite deposit groups along Linden, Kwakwani and Ituni.

RUSAL owns a 90% stake in the company and the remaining 10% belongs to the Guyana Government. The annual production capacity is 2.3 million tonnes a year.

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