Horrendous working conditions exposed at Bosai, Linden

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Minister Simona Broomes addressing workers at the East Montgomery mine. [File Photo]
Minister in the Ministry of Social Protection Simona Broomes speaking with the wharf workers
Minister in the Ministry of Social Protection Simona Broomes speaking with the wharf workers

[www.inewsguyana.com] – The atrocious conditions under which workers were forced to toil were exposed when Junior Minister of Social Protection Simona Broomes, conducted an onsite visit of the Bosai bauxite mining operations in Linden, Region Ten recently.

Accompanied by a team of Labour Occupational Health and Safety Officials, the Minister was appalled at the conditions under which workers were required to execute their duties.

Sparsely furnished lunchroom with no central or functioning air condition unit, and one adjacent to an exposed sewage pipe, lacking proper tunnels with live electricity, with water on the floor, inadequate safety equipment such as basic face masks instead of industrially approved safety masks with proper filters and respirators were some of the harsh conditions that the Minister was there to bear witness to.

An exposed sewage pipe, adjacent to the lunchroom that is used by the wharf workers
An exposed sewage pipe, adjacent to the lunchroom that is used by the wharf workers

The workers are forced to toil under at the Chinese owned factory plant. Over at the East Montgomery mines, workers complained of being forced to cramp themselves into one bus for transportation into the worksite. According to the workers, the company had two big businesses that transported the workers to the mine and the docks, but after one became inoperable, no moves were made to get a second.

The sparely furnished lunchroom that is used by the wharf workers
The sparely furnished lunchroom that is used by the wharf workers

The mine workers complained of working under unsafe conditions, such as an open pit, which many felt was too steep and in some parts more dangerous than the one that saw the eight miners losing their lives recently at an interior location. Working the pit in the night was also made more difficult by the fact that workers had to do so with inadequate lighting.

The Minister was also apprised of what workers said were the victimisation and verbal abuse they suffer, when they complained about such issues as “no raise of pay, being evaluated and being told there is no money to pay, being denied pay when sick, despite falling sick on the job and being checked by the onsite medic and taken to the hospital, by that official.”

Inside the tunnel, that has live electricity, and is saturated with water on the floor
Inside the tunnel, that has live electricity, and is saturated with water on the floor

One worker told the Minister of an incident where he complained to the Mines Manager about the AC in the lunchroom not working, to which the Manager replied “first place I come and see two AC in one room, how much of you have two ACs in your house…”As one worker puts it, “All these people concern with is this bauxite, and getting it out, and we get the crumbs from their table.”

The workers at the mine work under these conditions, 12 hours per day, for a basic salary of US$100 per week.

“This is the first time in five years we have seen anyone; we haven’t got no visit from no minister, no union,” one of the mine workers told the Minister.

Part of the East Montgomery mine, which the workers complained of being too steep
Part of the East Montgomery mine, which the workers complained of being too steep

According to Minister Broomes, the visit exposed many serious lapses and lack of oversight by the previous administration. She noted that the previous government had placed restrictions on labour inspections across the country.

She noted that under the Minister of Protection, there will be a difference. “We will be traversing to the length and breadth of Guyana. We will be looking at health and safety practices for workers in Guyana, we will also be looking at child labour, in the work places, so you will see more of labour,” she warned.

She added that “protocol will be established with security at the gates of these, so that in future, when labour shows up, they will have immediate access to the company.”

The Minister was referring to the fact that when the team arrived at the Bosai factory, it was forced to wait at least 10 minutes for clearance to enter the plant.

“They should all know that health and safety would not always give notice, to say to companies, oh we are coming in, we will like to come in impromptu to witness for ourselves what is taking place on the ground,” the Minister said.

Minister Simona Broomes addressing workers at the East Montgomery mine
Minister Simona Broomes addressing workers at the East Montgomery mine

Meanwhile, as it relates to the working conditions of the Bosai workers, Minister Broomes, told the workers that she was saddened at what they had to endure to take care of their families.

“The previous government has neglected the workers. Workers’ health and safety were never being considered. This government is all about change and we will definitely ensure that we get a change to this,” she said.

She pointed out to the workers, the ministry was renamed Social Protection for a reason, and their “social protection is here. [Extracted and modified from GINA]

3 COMMENTS

  1. I have been consistently saying the PPP does not care about Guyanese, and this created the right environment for the Chinese to step right in and demonstrate they, too, do not care about Guyanese.

    I am waiting to get a clear financial picture of Bosai’s contribution to our treasury, including tax breaks and the amount it received from government for electricity supply.

    The PPP probably knows it will be internationally embarrassed over the ensuing months as damaging revelations keep emerging of the massive ripping off of public funds, resources and assets that took place on its watch in power, hence its delay in turning up in Parliament.

    Jagdeo, especially, wants to be an MP, despite his earlier claim of not wanting any constitutional office, but he risks being exposed as the facilitator and architect of corrupt government. In fact, some think the PPP may be waiting to ensure he is cleared of Chris Ram’s private charges before taking up his seat in Parliament, but he will still be walking in to some serious blows to his national and international image.

  2. I believe,both former Ministers of Labour of the former administration Nadir and Gopaul MUST be held RESPONSIBLE for the disrespect these foreign businesses or employers exhibit towards our workers.They just sat back,doing nothing it appeared,drawing their fat salaries and showed no interest in these employees interests,no wonder,these workers have been treated the way they have been.Thank God,with this NEW ADMINISTRATION,CHANGE HAS COME.They must be treated BETTER,TRUST ME.

  3. Sad,sad,sad. To think that all the previous administrstion was intetested in was fulling their pockets and building mansions while these Chinese and Russians thugs reintroduced a modern form of enslavement. Why? They knew that they were dealing with a government who did not give a rats ass about their citizens once the bribes kept coming. Would any company be allowed to operate in China and subject their people to such horrendous conditions? I think not.

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