The union further stated that no agreement was reached during the discussions between the two parties and at the last meeting held on December 11, 2015, the CLO had said he wants to brief the subject Minister (who is Chief Conciliator) on the matter. GAWU noted that the next time they heard from the CLO was on February 19, when it was declared that API conciliatory effort reached deadlock without any feedback on the Minister’s view of the matter.
After months of deliberation, sugar workers across the country will finally be receiving their Annual Production Incentive (API) payments for 2015, today.
However, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) has pronounced the payment of 2.72 days’ pay per 231,145 tonnes of sugar, as insignificant. The API will be effective from April 1, 2016.
GAWU has been in discussions with the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) since November last year on API payments. Five meetings were held, two of which were under the chairmanship of Chief Labour Officer (CLO) Charles Ogle at conciliation and three between the two parties.
According to the union, in a statement on Thursday: “The meetings which took place between November 18, and December 11, 2015, saw GuySuCo taking an uncompromising stand on its proposal to award a day’s pay as API for every 85,000 tonnes, or part thereof, of sugar produced.”
GAWU said it considered GuySuCo’s offer of one day’s pay for every 85,000 tonnes “to be unjust and opposed it vehemently.”
Moreover, it was pointed out that API payment between 2011 and 2014 was an average of about 35,945 tonnes per day’s pay. This meant sugar workers had received 7.58 API days’ pay for a production of 236,506 tonnes sugar in 2011; 6.76 days’ pay for 218,060 tonnes sugar in 2012; five days pay for 186,807 tonnes sugar in 2013; and 4.5 days’ pay for 216,359 tonnes sugar in 2014.
In a deadlock circumstance, GuySuCo will now proceed with the API payments of 2.72 days’ pay for the 231,145 tonnes of sugar produced in 2015. Sugar workers were initially promised API payments in December last year but this was postponed to March, 2016.