The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) is of the view that Skeldon Estate cane cutters who are assigned to undertake tasks in weeding grass and bushes within the cane fields are being over-tasked and underpaid in this current out-of-crop period.
Workers of the Estate who are peeved over the situation have decided to engage in protest action outside of the Administrative Office of Skeldon Estate pressing for the restoration of the status quo in the settlement of price-disputes.
According to GAWU, some of the workers are not taking up work while others who are confronted by dire economic straits are forced to work. Many of them daily earning levels are reaching only $1,060, $1,328, $1,780 and so on. GAWU said that these workers ought to earn not less than $2,666 per day according to their earning level set by the Collective Labour Agreement.
“Price ceilings are imposed by the Estate notwithstanding that the prices are negotiable taking into account the hours required for a day’s work, the established price set out in the Collective Labour Agreement, and the nature of the tasks”, a statement from GAWU today said.
The Estate Management having set out its price, unlike in the past, is holding steadfast to it in spite of clear, logical and convincing arguments by the workers’ representatives and the Union’s Field Officer toward the resolution of the dispute.
According to GAWU, inadequate earnings are affecting workers whose children especially depend so much on their earnings.
“The present spate of price disputes is affecting workers at three (3) areas of the cultivation. Skeldon Estate seems not to be bothered in settling the disputes. This time, the Corporation is merely satisfying its obligation to provide the mandatory out-of-crop work and this explains the reason for the under-pricing and over-tasking and the take-it or leave-it attitude”, the statement noted.
GAWU has offered its input to address the dispute through an inspection of the disputed fields by an official from the Union’s Central Office along with the input of someone from the Industrial Relations Department of GuySuCo. However, Inews understandS that the Corporation might not be able to undertake the exercise before Thursday – January 21, 2016.
The plan by Skeldon Estate workers to protest comes in wake of Wales sugar workers also taking to the picket line to protest Government’s plan to close the estate, which will result in hundreds of persons being on the breadline.