Albion Estate employees back at work

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The Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GuySuCo) says employees who went on strike action at the Albion Estate on August 8, returned to work on August 9 after a meeting with the management.

The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) had said that the employees went on strike for an increase in pay and other issues on the very first day of the Second Crop at the Albion Estate.

The GuySuCo, in a statement late Friday night, noted that the Albion Estate is the largest of the three remaining estates in GuySuCo, with an annual turn-over of G$ 9B and employs over 4,000 persons. It is the largest business in Region 6, as well as the largest single employer in the region.

As such, the sugar company said that it is therefore critical to the Corporation in order to achieve its Second Crop target of 75,700 tonnes of sugar.

See GuySuCo’s full statement below:

The Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GuySuCo) has taken note of the press statement released by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) on issues pertaining to employees at the Albion Estate.

Firstly, the Corporation is disappointed that GAWU encouraged the employees to call strike action on the very first day of the Second Crop at the Albion Estate, instead of mobilizing them around supporting the efforts of their estate and the Corporation, to reduce inefficiencies and realize the target for the 2nd Crop.

Albion Estate is the largest of the three remaining estates in GuySuCo, with an annual turn-over of G$ 9B and employs over 4,000 persons. It is the largest business in Region 6, as well as the largest single employer in the region; therefore, it is critical to the Corporation in order to achieve its Second Crop target of 75,700 tonnes of sugar.

On the point of the strike action which took place on 8 August at Albion estate, the employees returned to work on the 9 August 2019, having had discussions with the management of the estate.

In relation to the matter on a salary increase, the Corporation has already engaged GAWU in bilateral discussions on the proposal from the Union for salary increases for the year, 2018.

These discussions were declared deadlocked in the ‘Conciliation’ process, conducted by the Department of Labour, Ministry of Social Protection. The Union has not submitted a proposal for 2019.

The issue of ‘arbitrary hiking of the estate’s weekly production targets’ from 2,100 to 2,140 tonnes of sugar at the Albion Estate, it should be noted that the estate achieved a weekly production of 2,200 tonnes of sugar during the Second Crop of 2018.

This estate’s capacity in terms of grinding hours is; 168; in order to produce 2,140 tonnes of sugar per week, grinding hours will be 140, which is 28 hours below the grinding capacity of the factory.

The employees of the estate ought to be proud, that their estate is working towards optimizing its potential and they are contributing towards that process, and achievement.

The Corporation would like to work closely with GAWU, to increase attendance on all three estates. The attendance at the Albion Estate for the First Crop of 2019; was 60%.

Some employees on estates are working 3 to 4 days per week which is required to merely qualify; however, in order to improve the efficiency of the estate, the attendance has to be improved to 80 to 85% and workers are required to work at least 5 days per week.

The Corporation is also disappointed that GAWU’s statement stated that employees doing mechanical loading of canes or the bell loader operators, deem the change in hours of work as unnecessary.

Having done an evaluation of the most efficient period for the bell loader operators to be engaged fully, a new shift was implemented by the Corporation, from 08:00 to 20:00 hours.

GuySuCo has been carrying out a number of rehabilitative works at the Albion Estate to improve its efficiency and overall performance as a part of the new Strategic Plan which will see this estate producing value-added products such as, white sugar and co-generation; a requirement is that the yields and overall efficiencies, be improved.

The Corporation is appealing to all of its employees to continue to support the management in the implementation of its Strategic Plan which is aimed at building more resilience and ensuring that it is sustainable.

Employees are informed that there will be changes both at the estate and corporate levels, but these are aimed at creating greater value from the business so that it can become more viable.

Targets for the Second Crop of 2019 by estates are as follows: Albion Estate, 39,500; Blairmont, 23,200 and Uitvlugt, 13, 000 tonnes of sugar.

 

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