RUSAL could face legal, other consequences or be shut down – Trotman


Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman has announced that the government intends to take decisive action against the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI), owned by Russian Aluminum (RUSAL),  which arbitrarily fired 61 workers for protesting a one percent salary increase and refused to reinstate them.

“We are looking at the legal and other consequences, either them closing or we (are) closing them; we just can’t have the status quo continue as is,” Trotman told reporters on the sidelines of a tour of bauxite operations in Linden run by Chinese-owned Bosai.

He said that he has asked the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) to investigate the operations of the company and present a report by this Tuesday.

Trotman’s statement adds to that of Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally who Wednesday said the government will go to the “lengths” and will make a “decision” regarding the operations of RUSAL.

“I do not think we can tolerate…companies coming in to partner with Guyana and operate in this fashion,” Ally declared.

Minister Ally’s statement came after a tense meeting Tuesday with company officials who bluntly told her that they will not reinstate the 61 workers who were dismissed for protesting a one per cent increase in wages. Ally said that 30 other workers were also issued with “no work” letters and their jobs are “threatened.”

The company officials countered their arguments with claims that they were “dismantling things” and that the operations are not profitable.

Ally dismissed all of that as being “really ridiculous.”

The BCGI has indicated that it may be forced to consider shutting down its operations after it terminated the 61 workers.

The company said the one per cent increase is in keeping in “accordance with the country’s inflation rate” and that the workers gave no notice of its strike actions.

The company said that it has suspended the Mining Department operations and that the mining vehicles and equipment have been transferred to the storage and put under surveillance.

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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