While Wales cane harvesters have started to receive their severance pay, other workers are expected to be laid off in the coming weeks leading into 2019, the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union (GAWU) has announced.
Those additional workers that will now be on the breadline are those who were retained following the closures of the Wales, Skeldon, Rose Hall and East Demerara estates to maintain skeleton operations at the factories.
In a statement on Wednesday, GAWU said that these workers, who were involved in security, drainage and irrigation and power house operations, are being informed that they would be “terminated by year-end or sometime early next year.”
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) maintains that it was always its intention to have the retained workers terminated – something which it is now giving effect to.
According to GAWU, the sugar company has assured that it has monies to pay these new set of workers their severance as it becomes due.
GAWU noted that this bit of news is saddening as even more workers will lose their jobs as a result of the “short-sighted” decision of the Coalition Government to minimize the sugar industry.
Government’s plan to downsize GuySuCo saw the closure of the Skeldon, Enmore and Rose Hall Estates, putting over 5,700 redundant workers on the breadline.
Before this the Wales Estate was also shut down in 2016, leaving in excess of 1000 workers jobless.
Some of the 5000 plus dismissed workers from the recently closed estates entitled to 500,000 or less were paid in full earlier this year.
Those who had accumulated more than that amount only received half of their severance at the time but were paid the remaining amount earlier this month.
However, the Wales workers had to take government to court to get their severance payments after they refused to relocate to Uitvlugt Estate.
After two years, High Court ruling last week saw the state being ordered to pay these 350 retrenched cane cutters their severance payments by the end of today along with a 4 per cent interest per annum.
Last week, some 238 workers who remained on the breadline received their payments while the remaining 109 workers who took up work at Uitvlugt got their severance today.