Thirty field foremen/forewomen of the Enmore Estate who were deemed redundant by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) are currently without their severance payments.
This is according to the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) which said that the Corporation’s redundancy letters to the aforementioned persons dated October 24, 2017, stated inter alia “… in accordance with Section 12, subsection (2) (a), (b) and (c) of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act 1997 (TESPA), the Corporation wishes to inform you that your job is being made redundant. As a consequence, this letter serves to give you one (1) month’s notice of the aforementioned in accordance with Section 15, subsection (1) of TESPA 1997.” The letter continues “this notice shall expire on November, 23 2017, hence your last day of work with the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc., East Demerara Estate”.
To that end GAWU posited that the affected group of workers, naturally, expected to receive their payments on their last working day but were disappointed as the Corporation is yet to honour its lawful obligations.
“The workers related to the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) that the non-payment of their redundancy pay is adding insult to injury as they desperately require their monies to sustain themselves and their families at this time, until, hopefully, some work can be found in the near future” said GAWU.
Moreover, the Union says it finds the delay perplexing given public statements by several State officials, including President David Granger himself, “committing that the workers would receive their redundancy pay as the Government moves forward with is heartless plans to shutter estates and cruelly put workers on the road at the usually joyful Christmas Season.”
According to GAWU, “the delay certainly casts serious doubts on the Administration’s utterances and we cannot help but wonder whether this is a harbinger of things to come as four thousand workers, in a few days’ time will join the already saturated ranks of the unemployed in our nation.”
Hundreds of workers attached to the East Demerara Estate (EDE) located in Enmore, East Coast Demerara, have been issued termination letters by GuySuCo, as the plans announced by Government earlier this year to close the sugar estate starts to take effect.
Earlier this month, termination letters were issued to over 2000 workers at the Skeldon Estate. This move follows on the heels of the similar notice given to Rose Hall Estate workers about one week prior.
In May 2017, Government announced plans to close the Enmore and Rose Hall Sugar Estates, sell the Skeldon Sugar Factory, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo.
In November, GuySuCo announced plans to retrench 2500 workers by the end of this year.
GAWU had said the downsizing and subsequent closure of sugar estates would lead to the loss of more than 15,000 jobs, and the potential threat of poverty for between 50,000 and 100,000 people.