Albion, Blairmont workers call on GuySuCo to end ‘foot dragging’ on wage discussions
Workers of the Blairmont and Albion sugar estates on Monday morning picketed outside the administrative offices of the estates to demand that the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) conclude wages negotiations, which they say have dragged on for too long.
In a statement, the workers’ Union GAWU said it has been several months now since the Unio and GuySuCo resumed discussions on wage/salary improvements “and yet it appears there has not been any movement on the part of the Corporation.”
An increase in wages for 2019 remains unresolved and the Union reasoned that “discussions ought to have begun from that point.”
GAWU stated that during its engagements with GuySuCo, the Corporation acknowledged this contention and Union and workers agreed to give the new management an opportunity to find a solution.
However, the Union said “days turned into weeks and then into months as the workers and the Union waited to hear from the Corporation.”
At a meeting held last week, GAWU said the Corporation asked that it table proposals on wages/salaries for years 2019, 2020, and 2021.
GAWU said GuySuCo already had proposals for 2019 and 2020 and so it found the request bizzare and bluntly refused to accede to GuySuCo’s demand.
GAWU said also that during the meeting, GuySUCo sought to blame the government, but the Union rejected this, saying it was sure of the government’s commitment to the industry, and cited President Irfaan Ali as reiterating this commitment as recent as March 06.
“Moreover, we have recognised the tangible demonstration of the Government’s support to the industry and can see no worthwhile rationale to impugn the Administration,” GAWU stated.
The Union stated that the workers’ apprehensions have grown stronger after they learned of seeming aggrandizement at certain levels of the Corporation’s hierarchy while they are being told to hold on and be patient.
The workers of Albion Estate also called on the Corporation to appropriately award them for their production achievement on week-ending March 13, 2021. Albion Estate realized approximately 92% of its weekly target and the workers are demanding a half day’s pay as Weekly Production Incentive.
The Albion workers pointed out that in the week prior when Uitvlugt Estate also achieved 92% of its weekly target, the Corporation approved a similar payment. Subsequently the Uitvlugt workers received a full day’s pay after GuySuCo approved a reduction in the weekly production target similar to what was previously approved for Albion and Blairmont Estates.
The Albion workers are, therefore, seeking that the precedent is upheld.
The Union and the thousands of sugar workers said they remain committed to the success of the sugar industry but the procrastination on the patrt of GuySuCo is not helpful.
“We urge that better sense prevail as the Management and the workers and the Union work collectively to restore the sugar industry which had been badly battered during the term of the Coalition.
“We believe on the wages issue a settlement is within reach.”