Sugar workers to start receiving outstanding payments from Friday

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Workers of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), who have been involved in protest action in recent months over protracted wage/salary discussions that go back to 2019, will start receiving payments as early as Friday, May 7, 2021.

It comes two weeks after the government promised to support GuySuCo with $200M to help comfort the disgruntled workers. During a brief comment to the News Room on Thursday, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha, confirmed that the government has honoured its commitment and the monies have since been released to the sugar corporation.

He said too that workers will be paid at the weekend starting from Friday.

This was later confirmed by GuySuCo’s Senior Communications Officer, Indira Badal, and President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), Seapaul Narine.

The government had pledged the support to GuySuCo following a meeting between Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, GAWU’s General Council and members of its negotiating team, along with officials of GuySuCo.

Officials at the meeting

That meeting came one day after the Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sasenarine Singh, said that while the state-owned company was “willing and ready” to negotiate salary increases with aggrieved sugar workers, it simply ‘cannot pay what it does not have’.

The agreement will see sugar workers receiving a one-off payment equivalent to five percent of six months of their earnings in 2019.

Further discussions will have to continue between GAWU and GuySuCo on payments for the rest of 2019. Narine said payments for 2020 has already been settled. He would offer no other comment.

GuySuCo has been repeatedly accused of procrastination and delaying tactics in reaching an agreement with the union.

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