Bauxite workers refuse to remove Berbice River blockage for loggers

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Disgruntled bauxite workers have refused to remove the blockages in the Berbice River, even as tons of other businesspersons, including loggers, are losing millions as a result of those actions.

Logging operations in the area have been stalled as a result of the wire rope blockage, which is preventing bauxite-laden barges as well as shipments of logs from passing.

Despite pleas from loggers for the protestors to remove the barricade, the workers and their supporters are not budging until the RUSAL – controlled Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) gives in to their demands.

“There is nothing that we can do at the present moment, let them go talk to RUSAL, talk to the Minister of National Resources, talk to the Forestry Department and let them put pressure on RUSAL,” said Ephraim Velloza, Branch President of the Workers Union in Aroima, Region Ten.

RUSAL officials and the Workers Union are slated to meet tomorrow (March 15, 2019) where they are expected to have a meaningful discussion on how to resolve the impasse.

Even though the Bauxite Company claims it is not making a profit, workers are demanding an increase greater than one percent.

The Union is also demanding that RUSAL reinstate the workers who were fired because they protested the one percent increase.

According to Velloza, the river blockage will continue until RUSAL gives in to those demands. They also want this agreement to be legal and binding.

“If RUSAL does not adhere to our proposals then we will continue and probably take it to the next level,” Velloza stated.

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