Reeling from the unilateral move by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to reduce their earnings for canal cleaning by some 75 per cent, workers attached to the Albion Sugar Estate, after protesting the reduction, say the are now jobless.
The workers expressed great frustration over the wages, outlining that to clean a four-foot canal, they are being paid $56 to clean each rod.
“The rate before was $225 per rod and somebody came from the office in Georgetown and set that rate down. They cut it by 75 per cent without saying one word to us that they paying you that; no consultation,” said Gopaul Singh, one of the operators.
Singh added that management at the Estate promised that there would be full consultation in the future.
However, the workers staged a two-day strike on Monday and Tuesday and when they informed management that they were going to resume work on Wednesday; they were reportedly told that the Estate had no work for them.
“We are contending that they should pay the $225 until they have such matters resolved as to a rate they want to pay,” Singh stressed.
Another worker, Nazir Hussain told this publication that what was done to workers was us unfair.
“They did not ask us anything. They just came to a conclusion at $56, which is wrong and we and management tried to discuss it but it going in a circle,” he said.
The sugar industry has been encountering significant challenges over the last several years with European markets having shelved preferential payments for sugar.
Government after assuming office has implemented several austerity measures including the closure of several estates – Wales, East Demerara, Skeldon and Rose Hall. However, many of thousands of workers who lost employment say they have been finding great difficulty in garnering alternative employment.
For those who remain, they have been complaining about not seeing wage increases or Annual Production Incentives (API).
The three estates that remain in operation are Uitvlugt, Albion and Blairmont.