Bauxite workers feel abandoned by Govt, says Union

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Bauxite is barged 240 km downstream from mines near Aroaima, using 20 purpose-built covered barges of 3,000 tdw each, and six tugs. The cargo is then transferred from the barges to ocean-going ships, using Oldendorff’s floating crane, as well as the ships’ own gear.

With the impending downsizing and possible closure of the Rusal bauxite operations in Guyana, the trade union representing these workers say they feel abandoned by the coalition Government, as little to nothing is being done to look out for their interest.

As Rusal’s stocks continue to crash on the world market, President of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GBGWU) Lincoln Lewis says that workers in the local bauxite industry feel abandoned by Government.

Lewis told this media group that he too is disappointed that the Government is dragging their feet on plans to prepare for this impeding closure due to the issues on the international market.

“I get the impression too that the issues that affect workers, the Government doesn’t want to address them so we may have to take some course of action” Lewis said.

Lewis did not divulge any further details to say what type of action the union and its members hope to take.

President of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union Lincoln Lewis

The union’s president said that to date the government has not made any attempts to put the task force they had established, back to work.

“They feel like they are being abandoned by those who are in political office” Lewis revealed.

The government of Guyana had expressed concern about the economic implications for local bauxite and alumina production following US sanctions imposed on Rusal and its owner, Oleg Deripaska.

In Guyana Rusal owns 90 percent of the Berbice-based Aroaima Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc, producing and shipping 1.5m tonnes of calcined bauxite in 2017 to the Rusal owned Nikolaev refinery in the Ukraine.

The concern about Rusal’s ability to continue to operate follows the US Administration’s decision on April 6 to impose a range of sanctions on a number of Russians with close connections to the Kremlin. The sanctions have far-reaching implications on Rusal’s global operations.

The sanctions cover seven individuals including the Rusal owner, 12 companies they own or control, and 17 senior Russian government officials.

According to the US government, those sanctioned supported the Russian state in ‘malign activities’ around the world.

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