The workers protested at Providence, East Bank Berbice (EBB), and later stormed into the Rose Hall Estate compound, on the Corentyne. This was in retaliation to management’s alleged refusal to allow them to work because they have been supporting a call to rescind on the decision to close the Wales Sugar Estate.
Estate workers have lashed back at management of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) which tried to punish them for their weekly strikes, held in solidarity with their counterparts at Wales, West Bank Demerara.
No cane was burnt on Saturday, Sunday or Monday resulting in harvesters not being required to work for three days; despite there being ripe canes in the field. This situation caused the workers to downed tools in protest action on Wednesday.
General Agricultural and Workers Union (GAWU’s) Berbice Regional Supervisor, Harvey Tambron, who met with the workers at Providence, said management has pushed the workers over the edge and they are now demanding answers as to why they were unable to work since Saturday.
“All the other estates, they burn cane, workers are working. They are cutting cane, the factory is grinding, Saturday, Sunday, Monday; Tuesday is their day to be on strike because that was called by the General Council. I spoke with the Estate Manager this morning [Wednesday] and he made it clear… ‘We are not going to prepare work for the harvesters as long as the Union is calling a one-day strike,” Tambron related.
After being informed about the decision taken by management at Providence, the workers demanded a meeting with the estate management and went the seven miles to Rose Hall.
When they got there, the workers pushed past security and walked into the compound demanding a senior manager meet with them. The Estate Manager had slipped out moments before they arrived.
After waiting for close to half an hour, the angry workers moved to the gate to hold all vehicles in the compound hostage.
The Human Resource Manager Adesh Singh was sent out to meet the angry cane harvesters. He told them the Estate Manager was willing to meet with a five-man representative team. The workers did not agree to that, saying that the flock stays together. They also told Singh that the proposal put forward by management was disrespectful.
“I don’t know where this is going, the workers are upset because they have loans to pay, they have bills to pay, they have their children to send to school, they have to feed their family. You can’t be offering them three and four days work. This is their reaction and the Union stands firm with them,” Tambron said.
GAWU says the workers from ‘C’ Gang will be joined by other gangs tomorrow as they demand the management face them and explain why they are being denied work. (Reprinted: Guyana Times)