Agreement between RUSAL, workers union imminent 

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An agreement between the Russian bauxite company RUSAL and the Bauxite Workers Union is imminent, Minister of Natural Resources Raphael Trotman has indicated, urging patience as the deal is hammered out.

“I can’t say a few hours or a few days but certainly not a few months we are pushing for a resolution,” Raphael Trotman, Minister of Natural Resources, has been quoted by the Department of Public Information (DPI) as saying.

“Right now, it’s really urgent the government and the union and the company try to expedite a resolution.

“I believe we can safely say all are involved and all are being consumed by this and my word to the loggers is to hold with us for a short while,” he stated.

“I can’t say a few hours or a few days but certainly not a few months we are pushing for a resolution,” the Natural Resource Minister said.

A dispute with 61 workers and the bauxite company started on February 15, when the workers protested a one per cent increase in their wages and salaries. The 61 workers were subsequently fired by the company and have been protesting since.

The aim of the workers blocking the river was to prevent the shipment of bauxite, but the action has also affected the work of loggers who use the river.

RUSAL has since closed down parts of its operations as a result of the protest.

In addition to the 61 workers, RUSAL fired 30 more employees late last month. RUSAL told the Government that all workers, regardless of their rank, are paid a monthly income of $259,000.

RUSAL owns 90% of the Bauxite Company of Guyana and was given licences to develop bauxite deposit groups along Linden, Kwakwani and Ituni.

With the government’s intervention, RUSAL agreed to recognise the GB&GWU and the two parties had their first bilateral meeting Friday last. An agreement could be signed today.

The aim of the workers blocking the river was to prevent the shipment of bauxite, but the action has also affected the work of loggers who use the river.

Minister Trotman further urged a speedy resolution to the impasse which has affected several sectors of the economy since its inception several weeks ago.

“The standoff has affected, many sectors.

“Government is not earning revenue from the shipment of bauxite and loggers have been affected.

“Their employment, of course, is affected, and certainly at my level, I am urging the Minister of Social Protection to try to get a resolution to this issue as a matter of urgency,” Trotman is quoted by the Department of Public Information as saying.

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