By Tracey Khan – Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Opposition Political Parties – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) have come out in condemnation of GuySuco’s approach in dealing with the ongoing industrial action that started at the Skeldon Sugar factory and managed to spread to the Albion and Rose Hall Estates in Berbice.
The strike is as a result of an incident between the Estate Manager and an employee on Friday last which saw the Manager immediately dismissing the employee without any due process.
APNU’s newly appointed General Secretary, Joseph Harmon during an interview with iNews today questioned why the sugar industry’s management is bent on protecting one person which is the Estate Manager, Dave Kumar at the expense of the economy and the people of Berbice.
“Why can’t they just call in that Estate Manager and say to him ‘look you have caused this entire industry a lot of loss and damage and so on let us deal with these issues in a very efficient manner’ but it’s the second or third day the entire place is on strike,” Harmon reasoned.
He believes that the management of the Sugar Industry has taken the side of the Estate Manager prematurely since a thorough investigation is yet to be done.
“It’s like covering up, you trying the devil in hell, everybody covering up for one another in there, that’s all they doing, why can’t a proper investigation be done? Why can’t they should put aside this and solve this, put that suspension on hold and do a proper investigation rather than suffer the entire industry in this way?” Harmon questioned.
The Guyana Power & Light Inc. has even blamed the industrial action for load shedding in Berbice and Demerara, however, Harmon says the power company and Government are trying to hide its incompetence to deliver adequate electricity to the people.
“The extent of the input from the Skeldon Estate into the grid is not so much that it could cause these people all of this blackout; the Government they are hiding behind this Estate strike to give these people load shedding…all of this here is to me in a sense really punishing the people of Berbice for incompetent administration,” Harmon said.
A delegation of concerned workers from the Skeldon Estate is expected to meet with Labour Ministry officials today as they continue to seek redress for their colleague in this matter.
Meanwhile, Executive Member of the Alliance for Change, (AFC) Moses Nagamottoo expressed concern for the welfare of workers and industry and said this prolonged industrial action is a clear demonstration of the fragile industrial relations between the workers and the management of GuySuCo.
He told iNews during a telephone interview that Kumar’s relationship with the workers comes into to question since his first action in dealing with such an issue is dismissal.
“This type of behaviour will not help to heal the workers nor the industry,” Nagamootoo said.
The AFC Executive Member condemned the dismissal of the worker and noted that it is heartening to see how the workers continue to stand in solidarity with their colleague and demonstrate through their action that unfair treatment of hard working men and women from the industry will not be tolerated.
“GuySuCo needs every ounce of sugar at this time and need to look at the bigger picture.”
The AFC and APNU have dispatched their officials on the ground to assess the situation. The Skeldon Estate remains out of operations, and the Rose Hall Estate today joined in on the industrial action, however, Albion Estate has resumed operations today.
The industrial action went full scale after the Estate Manager refused to implement a number of recommendations that were made by the workers representative, after Steven Daniel was dismissed.
Among the recommendations was the reinstatement of Daniel, an apology by the Manager to the worker and a commitment that the man would not be victimized.