The Department of Labour has invited the management of the Russian Bauxite Company (RUSAL) for another conciliation meeting on Tuesday morning noting that the dispute with the workers has “gone on for far too long.”
It is almost a month since RUSAL workers protested a one per cent unilateral increase in their wages and salaries and were subsequently fired by the bauxite company.
But several meetings between the Government, RUSAL, the Bauxite Union and the workers have all proved futile. As a matter of fact, at the last meeting with the Labour Department, RUSAL made it clear that it will not recognise the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers’ Union (GB & GWU) as part of the bargaining process.
“The Ministry feels that the time has come when all Parties should realize that enough is enough and approach all issues with magnanimity,” the statement from the Labour Department noted.
The meeting Tuesday will focus on bringing a conciliation between the fired workers and RUSAL’s Management. The meeting will be held at the Department of Labour’s Boardroom, Brickdam Georgetown at 10:00hrs.
“It is time that normalcy be restored and while all previous attempts have yield very little, the Ministry is hopeful that all Parties will accept its invitation and address the issues with the maturity that they deserve”, the statement said.
At the weekend, the 61 fired workers along the Berbice River, Aroaima received food supplies from the Regional Democratic Council, Region Ten and Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman.
Some of the basic food supplies the workers received include, rice, flour, sugar, peas, chowmein, oil, milk, biscuits, and other foods.
The Regional Chairman, Renis Morian said: “I will not allow under my watch workers who are being taken advantage of and being blatantly disrespected especially by a foreign company being allowed to go without our assistance, as the Regional Chairman of Region Ten it is my duty to lend whatever assistance that we can provide as Linden is not only Region Ten and therefore Kwakwani also forms part of this Region and together we will help.”
The fired workers continue to block the Berbice River, preventing the passage of RUSAL’s barges.
“We hope that the operations can come to a complete halt so that the matter can be fully resolved because once people still going to work, the operation will continue to run to some extent,” one of the fired employees told News Room.
In addition to the 61, RUSAL fired 30 more employees late last month.
RUSAL’s Country Representative to Guyana, Vladimir Permyakov had said it is not the fault of the workers, but the company temporarily closed some departments since the strike.
The Company Representative made it clear in a meeting on February 27, with the Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally that they will not reinstate the 61 employees they fired on February 15 because those workers breached their contracts with the company.
RUSAL owns 90% of the Bauxite Company of Guyana and was given licences to develop bauxite deposit groups along Linden, Kwakwani and Ituni.