Former Wales sugar estate workers protest for their severance packages

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A section of the crowd of protesters that gathered

A group of enraged sugar workers, who were supposed to receive their severance packages last year, early this morning protested in front of the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s Wales sugar estate, while rejecting proposals for them to be transferred to Uitvlugt.

The sugar workers say they have had enough of the charade and are demanding their severance payments which were reportedly promised to them since December.

“We want we money! When we getting we severance? No Money, No Work!” were some of the cries among others of the sugar estate workers.

One of the protesting workers stated “them supervisor and the foreman them ah get them cheque this same week. Wa mek we cant get we own before them?”

Another irate estate worker noted that he served under GuySuCo for over 20 years, paid his union dues for that period and so he called on the Union to represent him and the other workers, since according to him, thus far, the Union has done nothing for them.

Following GuySuCo’s meeting with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) on Wednesday last, the sugar corporation disclosed that there is a demand for labour at the Uitvlugt Estate, which will start its first crop later this week.

According to the workers, they were informed on Friday that the Union agreed for employees to be transferred to Uitvlugt but the sugar workers are not prepared to go anywhere, citing distance as the key reason. “From hay to Uitvlugt is 22 miles, lef out how much you gotta go in the backdam. You think every day a worker could travel 44miles fuh guh and come? Wa guh happen to he body, wa guh happen to he wuking condition?”

However, GAWU in a press release today called for the workers to be paid their severance packages while nothing that GuySuCo was being duplicitous in their pronouncements concerning the future of the workers.

“We close the meeting saying they wudda call we Thursday back for an answer. Everybody who gotta sign up will be sign up , who gotta go tek transfer gonna be transfer. We waiting for this call since Thursday, we nah get this call…” one worker explained.

Inews was told that the workers were informed that they are not being forced to comply with the transfer to Uitvlugt and that those who wanted their severance pays will get it.

“Them talk them word and them eat it back” one of the protestors quipped.

Some of the protesters also indicated that their “lives are on hold.”

“Some of us supposed to go in the interior, some of us supposed to go pon sea, now we cant lef because we waiting for this money and sign up for this money.”

It was early 2016 that Government announced the end of sugar operations at Wales Estate, citing cost as the main factor for closure.

It was later disclosed that rice will be planted as part of the diversification plans but it remains unclear when the first rice crop will be reaped.  

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