Three years later, Demerara Timbers Limited still to meet with worker’s union

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Foreign-based company Demerara Timbers Limited is refusing to engage the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union (GAWU) for three years now.

President of GAWU, Komal Chand said at press briefing on Friday.

The Department of Labour, which is responsible for dealing with workers and employees issues, have not been able to deal with GAWU in the process of collective bargaining with Demerara Timbers Limited.

“For three consecutive years we have claims before them; they are refusing to engage us in discussing and negotiating these claims.

“They are saying that we must exchange our position in writing, which goes against the grain of collective bargaining,” Chand said.

According to Chand the company may be refusing to engage the Union because of the government’s attitude.

“They probably look at the attitude of the government and recognize that they can do what they are doing without being pulled over the coals.”

President for GAWU, Komal Chand

It was noted that this matter between GAWU and the company was brought to the attention of the Attorney General Chambers to have the matter taken up in the courts.

“Our representative on the Board, who is comrade Seepaul Narine, reported that they are not receiving any response although there had been reminders to the AG chambers. This is a serious situation that workers’ rights are violated and those who are supposed to assist and protect the workers are doing nothing,” Chand said.

Meanwhile, GAWU’s President dispelled the idea that his political affiliation may also be a reason for the company not engaging the Union.

Chand noted that he has been a Member of Parliament since 1992 and a longtime President of the Union; he said the Union was able to solve many issues, until recent years.

“We have been able to resolve many issues and bring betterment to many workers when we were able to negotiate freely,” Chand said.

A number of other companies also proved challenging to GAWU this year.

These companies include the Mahaicony/Abary Rice Development Scheme, Skeldon Energy Inc, Noble House Seafood, Demerara Harbour Bridge and the Guyana Forestry Commission.

GAWU said going forward in 2020 they will continue to ensure that worker’s rights are met.

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