The decision to close BEV Processors, even if it means leaving almost 400 persons without jobs at the shrimp processing factory, was made due to its owner’s fear of incurring heavy losses and huge debts in the near future.
This is according to the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) following an engagement between them and the entity’s Director, Bruce Viera on Thursday, in keeping with obligations outlined by the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act and the Trade Union Recognition Act.
““The Company explained that several factors influenced its decision to close operations. Mr Vieira contended that in the last few months there has seen a substantial decline in the prices being received from his customers locally and abroad. The low prices have resulted in the Company having some 600,000 pounds of shrimp on hand,” a statement by the Union explained.
Moreover, Viera expounded that his Company is required by year-end to have Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, which was described as a tedious process that takes almost 18-months to complete.
To this end, he posited that sales to overseas markets would be severely curtailed unless the MSC certification is obtained.
“Vieira was also concerned whether the Government would renew at year-end the concession through which fishing companies are allowed to purchase fuel under arrangements whereby lesser taxes are paid. Mr Vieira, in the circumstances, expressed deep fear that his Company could suffer heavy losses and huge debts,” GAWU said.
Nevertheless, it was agreed by the company’s Managing Director and GAWU that apart from the statutorily required redundancy payments, the Company will give its workers for their full year’s annual leave, though their year’s of service would be incomplete when operations cease.
“The workers would receive too their full incentive payment for July, 2018 though the Company would end operations around July 15, 2018. Also, the Company agreed to pay the workers 100 hours of their pay rates they would usually receive during the closed season despite the shuttering of the Company’s operations before the season commences. The closed season, which would last from August to October, sees a temporary cessation of fishing operations to allow fish to spawn,” GAWU in a press statement said.
Furthermore, Viera has undertaken to secure jobs for the employees who will be leaving in a month’s time.
“Some of the workers may have an opportunity to be employed by Noble House Seafoods Limited, an entity where GAWU also enjoys bargaining rights. This possibility will be confirmed early next week. Additionally, BEV is reaching out to other employers with a view to secure jobs for the now redundant workers.”
BEV’s shrimp processing plant will be closed as at July 15 2018 and some 390 workers attached to the plant will be affected.
The workforce is largely made of up females, many of whom are single parents, are already hard pressed with the circumstances of life.