Sugar workers at the Rose Hall Estate on Monday intensified their strike with a protest outside the estate at East Canje, Region Six (East Berbice/Corentyne), calling for the removal of the manager.
While the workers were demonstrating, their union the Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union (GAWU) was invited to meet with management at 13:00hrs.
During the high-level meeting, GuySuCo agreed to give the workers their obstacle payment which they were demanding.
On Wednesday, almost 1000 workers walked off the joy, protesting management’s unilateral decision to alter the arrangements in obstacle payments, and their refusal to meet with the workers’ representatives.
Initially, the estate’s management was only willing to pay the money if the workers would have completed their allotment of work for the day.
The workers, in turn, were arguing that they could not complete what they are being asked because of the conditions under which they have to work.
While on the picketline on Monday, one of the worker’s representatives, Mark Faraia explained that all of the workers are aware that the corporation is in a crisis: “If you are talking about reducing cost, I think that the management, the CEO, the Board and the executives should consider a pay cut; that is what big companies do, that is what smart people do. Why not give up some of the benefits that they enjoy, then they would earn themselves the moral authority or permission to come and take anything from us… This manager is incompetent. If the government want to close this estate, don’t let them use the workers as a stepping stone to close the estate.”
Workers are expected to recommence harvesting today, however grinding is not expected to recommence till Wednesday.
As a consequence of the six-day strike action, 660 punts of cane which had been harvested, loaded and transported to the factory, were discarded because the factory had not been grinding since Wednesday.