GAWU considering GuySuCo’s pay raise weeks before elections

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With less than one month before the March 2 General and Regional Elections, the incumbent Administration has offered an increase in wages to workers on the sugar belt – something which they have been calling for over the years.

This offer was made during a meeting on Friday (February 7, 2020) between the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and representatives from the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU).

GAWU and GuySuCo’s representatives at Friday’s meeting

It comes just days after workers staged a picketing exercise outside the Ministry of the Presidency on Tuesday, calling for pay hikes.

In a statement on Friday, GAWU said the day after picketing, an invitation was extended for the Union to meet with GuySuCo officials and during the engagement, the proposal was made.

The missive says “…the sugar corporation informed that it approved certain pay increases to the sugar workers.”

However, no information was given about the offer made and according to the Union, who’s delegation for the meeting included officials and representatives from the various estates, it has not yet accepted the wage increase.

“While our Union, at this time, will refrain from disclosing the details as the GAWU and the workers are actively considering the company’s offer, at the same time, it demonstrates that it is only through struggle that the workers and the oppressed will be able to surmount their obstacles and score even meagre gains from the Administration,” GAWU said

Moreover, the union went on to outline its suspicious of the proposal for pay hike at a time when the country is gearing up to vote in about three weeks’ time.

According to GAWU, “It did not escape our attention that the offer comes less than a month away from when the workers and their families are expected to exercise their franchise and when there are active attempts to woo their support after years of assault after assault perpetuated against them.”

Sugar workers during Tuesday’s picketing exercise

On Tuesday sugar workers from Uitvlugt, Blairmont and Albion Estates gathered in front of the Ministry of the Presidency to continue their pleas for wage increases, which they are yet to benefit from since 2015 when the APNU/AFC coalition took office.

This comes on the heels of sugar workers being snubbed by the Government when it announced salary increases for the public sector in November last year.