Hundreds of sugar workers remain without their severance payments despite having been promised to receive it since December 2016.
If the matter is not resolved in the coming days, court action against the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) may be pursued by the unions representation the workers.
This was revealed by President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) Komal Chand at a public meeting held at Patentia, West Bank Demerara on Tuesday evening.
However, even as court action looms over the nonpayment of severance, the protest actions will resume in the coming week to highlight the plight of the workers, many of whom have said they have been unable to find work.
Tuesday’s meeting was hosted to address the current developments at the Wales Estate and to discuss the non-payment of severance to the cane cutters and cane transport workers who have continued to demand their packages.
The meeting attracted many workers, their families and other residents. GAWU General Secretary Seepaul Narine also addressed the concerns of the workers. Many of the sugar workers reside in the Patentia community which borders Wales where the now inoperable sugar estate is located.
On Monday, workers reminded that Head of State David Granger and Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo had committed their support to the sugar industry in the run up to the 2015 General and Regional Elections. On this premise, they called for an intervention of the President and his Cabinet to address their many problems.
The workers had again complained that Agriculture Minister Noel Holder never met with them at the Estate to address their concerns.
“No Minister never come and meet with we as yet, onto now,” the workers had collectively expressed.
Although the workers continue to demand their payment, the Agriculture Ministry contended that all workers who wanted severance payment were already paid, but GAWU had deemed the Ministry’s announcement as misleading.
The workers are demanding that they be paid severance on the basis that they cannot be compelled to travel 22 miles from their point of origin.
This publication had been informed that at the most recent meeting with the Sugar Corporation, employees and Union representatives, GuySuCo reportedly maintained that the workers “have to go” to the Uitvlugt Estate.
The Corporation had told the public that the Uitvlugt Estate was being upgraded to increase its production from 20,000 to 40,000 tonnes of sugar annually. On that basis, GuySuCo had reiterated its demand for labour.
Government confirmed the end of sugar operations at Wales Estate, citing cost as the main factor for closure.