GuySuCo offers sugar workers pay raise

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Three days after sugar workers protested the Ministry of the Presidency calling for a wage increase, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has put forward an offer.

The company on Friday met with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) where it informed the union that certain pay increases were approved for sugar workers.

GAWU in a statement said it will not disclose the offer since it is under consideration.

“While our Union, at this time, will refrain from disclosing the details as the GAWU and the workers are actively considering the company’s offer,” the union said.

See full statement below:

It was only on Tuesday (February 04) that sugar workers continued to press their demand for a pay rise. It has been a continuous struggle that has been waged since 2015 and one that saw workers, on many occasions, taking part in protest and picketing exercises outside of the sugar estates, the GuySuCo Head Office, the President’s office and the National Assembly along with those struggles workers as well as staged vigil activities to call attention to their plight and thousands of them also subscribed to a petition calling on President Granger to intervene positively in the matter. These are among the spirited activities that the sugar workers participated in and led as they sought to bring attention to their plight.

GAWU and GuySuCo during their meeting Friday [Photo submitted by GAWU]
The workers were staunch in their demand for a deserving pay increase as they maintained that they were discriminated against. Apart from that the workers further demonstrated how the pay freeze had pushed them and their families closer to the poverty line as they were crushed by the heavy cost-of-living. They had to find innovative means to make life’s ends meet as their nominal and real wages declined and their ever scarce dollars were not going as far as they previously could. It, indeed, was and is a difficult time and one where many sacrifices had to be made though they continued to give of their best but those who professed, at one time, to be their allies abandoned them.

At a meeting between the GAWU and the GuySuCo today (February 07), the Union’s delegation, comprising officials and representatives from the various estates, that the sugar corporation informed that it approved certain pay increases to the sugar workers. We should add that the Union was invited to today’s meeting about 24-hours after a large number of workers together with Union officials took part in a picketing exercise outside of the President’s office on Tuesday. While our Union, at this time, will refrain from disclosing the details as the GAWU and the workers are actively considering the company’s offer, at the same time, it demonstrates that it is only through struggle that the workers and the oppressed will be able to surmount their obstacles and score, even meager gains from the Administration.

It did not escape our attention that the offer comes less than a month away from when the workers and their families are expected to exercise their franchise and when there are active attempts to woo their support after years of assault after assault perpetuated against them. While this does appear suspect, it nevertheless demonstrates too the principled-ness of the workers actions to be treated fairly and equitably and to live lives where they can afford the basic necessities of existence.

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