Matters have come to a halt at the Russian Aluminium Company, Rusal, with operations shut down and workers protesting an arbitrary one per cent salary increase were asked to leave the company’s premise.
This all occurred on Friday in the company’s Region 10 holdings, when the workers decided to strike because of the meagre one per cent increase – an increase, the workers have been informed, that was sanctioned by the Government of Guyana itself.
It is understood that not only were the dissatisfied employees told not to return to work, they were also threatened with dismissal after they initiated the strike action. However, Under Article 147 of the Constitution of Guyana, striking workers are afforded protection.
The company, in a letter dated February 15, 2019, which was seen by <<<Inews>>> noted that management had no alternative but to close the mine area due to the withdrawal of labour by workers attached to the Mining Equipment/Mobile Equipment Maintenance Department.
It noted that work was halted in the Department until further notice. “All affected workers are asked to leave the premises of the company with immediate effect,” the letter went on to state.
<<<Inew>>> understands that there was a meeting between management and employees on Saturday. The workers are reportedly seeking a 15 per cent increase instead. General Secretary of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GBGWU), Lincoln Lewis also met with affected workers on Saturday.
During the meeting, issues such as wage increases, living quarters and transportation were reportedly discussed. Regional Vice-Chairman Elroy Adolph in an invited comment said employees were very disturbed over the rate of the increase, but have faith in the Workers Union.
“Nobody is working. All the vehicles parked and I was told they are not working, they put them out the mines. It’s just the supervisors and maybe one or two pump attendants are there, but almost all the workers are off the mines,” Adolph stated, noting that the workers are being backed by the Union.