[www.inewsguyana.com] – Agriculture Minister Noel Holder is of the view that current strike action organised by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) is politically motivated since the sugar industry is now performing under a newly installed Interim Management Committee (IMC).
In an invited comment, Minister Holder told the Government Information Agency (GINA), “one of the problems with the sugar industry is that it has been used as a political football, and you have seen the result of that is the reduction in productivity over the years and the putting of square pegs in round holes by the former Government.”
He advised that the coalition Government has taken a hands-off policy allowing managers to administer.
“We have put in an interim management team, you have seen the productivity has gone up. In fact we have surpassed targets over the last three or four weeks,” the Minister stated.
Minister Holder believes that GAWU, having seen that, is now on the defensive and being a political organisation is trying to disrupt that process. He further explained that the Commission of Inquiry (COI) that was established to look into Guysuco’s affairs had a GAWU representative as one of its members.
“So although the results of the COI have not yet been taken to Cabinet, GAWU is aware of it because they had a man on the Commission who was part of the results, so I suspect what’s going on here it’s political and the government does not want to get involved in this kind of thing. We want management to handle it and we want GAWU to be responsible individuals and look at what they are going to do to the industry,” Minister Holder explained.
Sugar workers began industrial action yesterday for increased wages and fringe benefits.
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) General Secretary Clement Rohee has since denied any involvement in the strike action on the part of the PPP.
According to the General Secretary, “we consider it as an industrial action staged by sugar workers…Is it not justifiable for the sugar workers to demand more money.”