GuySuCo’s Press Release on current strike at Albion Estate
The Albion/Port Mourant Estate as at week ending September 18, 2021 has completed four (4) out of its scheduled twelve (12) weeks of sugar production. Since the commencement of harvesting operation on August 18, 2021, the estate has been facing a number of challenges as a result of the sixty five (65) days of flooding of the entire cultivation. The canes deteriorated and develop adventitious roots, side shoots and tillering which have resulted in its reduced quality. In addition to the crop canes there are also canes that were not harvested in the first crop 2021 because of rainfall which commenced in April 2021.Those canes are currently being harvested in this second crop 2021 and are referred to as carryover canes.
The 2021 flood have created new challenges at Albion/Port Mourant Estate. Among those challenges, is the claim being made by the cane harvesters for compensation for not achieving their minimum daily punt weight of 6.5 tonnes due to dry canes. The estate is actively working to address this challenge using the establish system for such situation.
Currently four (4) out of our five (5) cane harvesting gangs are on strike totalling approximately 1,146 employees. The Corporation continue to engage the union and shop stewards to listen to their concerns with the view of arriving at an amicable solution.
The estate’s weekly sugar production target has been reduced from 2,100 metric tonnes sugar to 1,815 metric tonnes as a first step to recognise the lost in weight. In addition this reduced target is a means to also to encourage employees to work to earn additional earning through daily performance incentive and weekly production incentives.
On Tuesday September 14, the Corporation’s Central Executives (Head Human Resources, Chief Industrial Relations Manager and Industrial Relations Officer) along with the Estate’s Management (Agriculture, Human Resources and Harvesting Managers) met with the GAWU field secretary and the cane harvesting shop stewards and listened to their concerns and indicated that they will be channelling same up to the higher management and will be returning on Tuesday September 21, 2021 to provide an update on those discussions.
On Wednesday September 15, the employees in the 17B cane harvesting gang took strike action which is currently in its fourth day; this was followed by strike action on Friday September 17 and Saturday September 18, 2021 by the cane harvesters in the 14B, 15A and 15B gangs. The employees continue to demand that the estate compensate them for their weight loss without them having to complete any alternative work.
The cane harvesters in the 15B gang made a statement that premium price was paid in the past for obstacles in the field, the system is obstacle payment is paid base on the additional time spent on the job to complete the work shared.
Indeed under normal circumstances Albion/Port Mourant Estate’s second crop is usually twenty (20) and more weeks however, as a result of the prolong flood the estate lost 31% of its crop canes causing our second crop 2021 to be curtailed to twelve (12) weeks.
The estate management as recent as Friday September 17, 2021 continue its discussion with the GAWU field secretary and the cane harvesting shop stewards to find an amicable resolution within its authority so that all the cane harvesters can return to work.
Further, the Chief Executive and his management team will be meeting the Union Central Executives and the cane harvesting shop steward on Sunday September 19, 2021 to further discuss this matter to reach a mutually agreeable solution.