Countrywide strike as sugar workers protest GuySuCo’s refusal to meet at bargaining table

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File Photo: Sugar workers during a recent protest. [iNews' Photo]

File Photo: Sugar workers during  a recent protest. [iNews' Photo]
File Photo: Sugar workers during a recent protest. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) says that the sugar industry is not in operation as a result of a strike action by sugar workers, which took effect from Sunday, October 25.

According to a statement from GAWU, the immediate reason for this closure has to do with the “continuous postponement” by the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) of discussions with GAWU on the wages issue for this year.

GAWU said that the the Union’s wage claim was submitted to GuySuCo since March 08, 2015.

“The GuySuCo was urged by the Union over the past months to begin negotiations. At a meeting on September 16, 2015, the Corporation fixed October 07, 2015 to begin to address the Union’s claims for wages and adjustment to certain fringe benefits. This date was set to follow the conclusion of the work of the Sugar Commission of Inquiry (COI) which was expected to be on September 30, 2015. However, the Corporation by letter dated October 06, 2015 to the Union requested a further deferment,” the GAWU statement noted.

According to GAWU, in deference to the Corporation, the workers exercised restraint and goodwill.

“The COI report was presented to the Ministry of Agriculture on October 19, 2015. Yet the Union has been unable to get the Corporation to sit at the bargaining table for wages discussions. The Union wishes to point out that GuySuCo’s position is in breach of the Section 23 (1) of the Trade Union Recognition Act (TURA) which states:-

“Where a trade union obtains a certification of recognition for workers comprised in a bargaining unit in according with this Part, the employer shall recognise the union, and the union and the employer shall bargain in good faith and enter into negotiations with each other for the purpose of collective bargaining.”

It was noted that the meeting of the Union’s General Council on October 24, 2015 discussed the prevailing situation with respect to the non-commencement of the negotiations and unanimously agreed to engage in protest action at the Corporation’s breach of the TURA.

“Now, the Union is being told we need to await consideration of the COI report by the Government.”

According to GAWU, General Council members noted that other public sector employees have already been granted wage/salary increases since the passage of the 2015 Budget. However, seemingly sugar workers who are also eligible to benefit from wage increases are not being attended to.

The Union calls upon the Corporation to respect the law and the Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) and allow the unusually positive sugar production momentum to hold.

“The excellent harvesting result should be a strong motivation to GuySuCo at this time to engage the workers’ Union in Collective Bargaining to address the wages negotiations.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Take to the streets,,,all TUGS and criminals will be death with,encouraging lawlessness is just as bad as committing the crime. Guyanese will all unite and solve issues without the examples of those criminals from ROBB ST,walking in circles crying because the cake was taken away,having a SLICE of the cake was not enough they tec all and still want mo,,,NO said uncle sam,the sugar industry is a PPP voting basket,not anymore. We control the election

  2. Countrywide strike as sugar workers protest GuySuCo’s refusal to meet at bargaining table..
    You vote for change but did not get it so the US made those changes for you.
    Now you cane cutters and union bosses will enjoy the “good life” the installed PNC talked about.. Take to the streets now and demand that promised “good life” 50% wage increase or nothing.

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