[www.inewsguyana.com] –Some 380 workers at the East Demerara Estate downed tools on Tuesday, February 10 following the dismissal of 15 cane harvesters, according to a media release from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
The workers were dismissed for inadequate application of fertilizer, intended for 10 weeks-old cane plants, at several fields in Felicity and a section of the LBI cultivation, on 24 and 25 July 2014.
The release added that prior to the dismissal of the15 workers, three junior staff and one senior employee were dismissed for allowing these workers to have fertilizer inadequately applied to the cane plants.
The dismissed workers were stated as having adequate experience in the application of fertilizer since it is routine for them to be assigned this task during the out-of-crop periods, the release noted.
“Management, in their routine inspection, discovered that many cane plants were devoid of fertilizer, and as a consequence a thorough examination was done only to expose that there were massive skipping in the application of the fertilizer.”
Subsequently, the Corporation’s agriculture audit team was deployed to make an assessment of the extent of fertilizer not being applied to the cane plants.
The Corporation says it expends annually approximately $2B to import fertilizer, “and finds it totally unacceptable that fertilizer that is intended to nurture the cane plants could not be applied to them in the stipulated amount.”
The company is now blaming this unethical behavior of workers for the low cane yields and stunted cane growth being experienced at the East Demerara Estate.
As such it says, “the Corporation will continue to exercise a zero tolerance for this type of work behavior, and in this sense wishes to advise those workers who are on strike to have an immediate end to their protest action and allow either the process of the grievance and/or disciplinary procedures to have their course.”
The East Demerara Estate is expected to commence its first crop this year mid next week and the strike by the factory workers could only jeopardize the startup of this crop.