Sugar workers up protests for pay rise


Sugar workers, led by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), have increased protests for a pay increase, with work grinding to a halt at the Blairmont Estate, West Coast Berbice on Wednesday.

Protests have also been held at the Uitvlugt Estate, West Coast Demerara and at the Department of Labour Thursday.

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has offered a pay increase effective the start of this year, but the workers are pushing for any pay increase to be retroactive to the start of last year. The workers are also demanding an increase of no less than five per cent.

Sugar workers during the protest at the Labour Department Thursday [GAWU photo]
The union is also pushing this bargain in their talks with GuySuCo.

“It is apposite to note that agreements arising out of discussions on non-wage matters, which also comprised the union’s claims, saw those improvements being implemented from 2019,” GAWU stated.

“It is, therefore, puzzling that the Corporation with respect to pay increase is seeking to deviate from practise and precedent.

Sugar workers during the protest at the Labour Department Thursday [GAWU photo]
“As the union disclosed previously, the sugar company has acknowledged that our discussions regarded 2019 yet it is seeking to implement pay rises from the beginning of this year.”

The workers said they are willing to listen to reasonable proposals from the sugar corporation but at the same time, they cannot allow the GuySuCo to effectively cheat them out of a year’s retroactive pay.

They shared the sincere view that they are more than deserving and while they welcome the little reprieve, consideration should be given to their circumstances and situation.

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