Dismissed bauxite workers: Govt to further engage RUSAL today

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Some trade unionists unite in protest against RUSAL last Thursday.

Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally said that the government will be further engaging representatives of the Russian Bauxite Company (RUSAL) today (Monday), to seek to find a solution to the current problems affecting the workers who were sent packing a few days ago.

The meeting is expected to be centred around the 61 workers dismissed by the company last month and the way forward as the company has since refused to reinstate the workers.

Minister Ally had told the management of RUSAL, the firing of the workers is an unreasonable act and their position is an unthinkable one.

Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle is expected to lead the meeting.

Last Wednesday, after a meeting with the Bauxite company, Minister Ally reaffirmed the government’s commitment to support and stand by the dismissed workers. She underscored that the government will not accept the conditions presented by RUSAL and confirmed that an examination of the company’s license is currently being discussed.

The Social Protection Minister said she indicated to RUSAL that Government will not be accepting the conditions they put forward for reinstating the dismissed workers.

After a series of protests by various stakeholders in Guyana against the recent actions of BCGI, which is owned by Russian Aluminum company, RUSAL, Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had said that Government is geared at taking action against the company, even if it means having the company shut down its operations in Guyana.

Meanwhile, sugar workers, particularly those fired following the closure of several estates, are now calling for similar representation in the wake of the unions’ collective response to RUSAL’s termination of the bauxite workers.

Over the past three years, Government has closed four sugar estates – Skeldon, Wales, Enmore and Rose Hall – putting more than 7000 workers on the breadline. The rights of some of these workers were trampled upon after they were forced to wait for more than one year to receive their severance packages from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).

As such, in light of last Thursday’s protest by the trade unions of Guyana outside RUSAL’s headquarters, the sugar workers believe a similar approach would be beneficial to their cause.

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