State Minister Joseph Harmon today dismissed reports that the displaced sugar workers entitled to severance pay, are likely to receive about $1m.

Harmon explained that the Government wants to clarify the issue before any controversy erupts over the payment sums that workers would receive eventually.

“It’s not one size fits all. There a global sum which will be given. A severance is a calculation you make based upon what the working was enjoying as wages and salaries….so it’s not like everybody come and collect a million dollar and move on….what I can say to there’s no one million dollar package that will be given out to everybody”, Harmon said.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon

On Wednesday last, President David Granger announced that some $2B has been set aside to pay redundant sugar workers 50% of their severance by the end of this month, while the remaining monies will be paid off in the second half of the year.

However, government has come in for much criticism over the move with keey stakeholders including the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) saying that the move violates the labour laws.

According to the labour laws, redundant workers are to be paid severance upon termination of their employment.

However, Harmon noted that while funds were budgeted for severance payments, additional monies had to be added to that amount.

“Severance was budgeted for. There’s severance in the sums that have been allocated to GuySuCo…There is a sum of over $500M that was allocated to GuySuCo in the budget for 2018…what were not sure about was what was going to be the exact figure…In December and January the exact figure started to emerge and that is why we had to make additional amounts available”, He reported.

Countrywide protests have erupted over the Government’s handling of the sugar industry and its decision to dismiss thousands of sugar workers without a plan to reintegrate them into the world of work.


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