Company and not Union refused to sigh Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Ministry of Social Protection, Guyana, December 13, 2016

The lead story in the Sunday Chronicle of December 11th, 2016 under the caption “RUSAL, union hold talks:” outlined the many issues discussed at a historic meeting between the Ministry of Social Protection and the management of the RUSAL on Friday 9th December, 2016.

The meeting which was held in the Committee Meeting Room at the Parliament building on Brickdam Georgetown, was attended by the Honourable Mr. Keith Scott, Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection and accompanied by the Attorney General the Honourable Mr. Basil Williams. The RUSAL’s delegation included Mr. Nikolay Simrnov the ambassador of Russia the home country of RUSAL.

One of the critical issues discussed was the company’s earlier refusal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) involving the Government of Guyana, the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers’ Union (GB&GWU) and the RUSAL itself providing for the payment of Tax Free overtime to the company’s workers.

During the meeting, both Minister Scott and Attorney General Williams pointed out that RUSAL’s failure to sign the MOU was disrespectful to the Government as well as contrary to the workers’ interest.

However, by some un-explained measure the Sunday Chronicle has incorrectly reported that it was Minister Scott who said that it was the union who refused to sign the agreement. The Honourable Minister wishes to make it abundantly clear that at no time did he say or even infer that it was the union who failed to sign the MOU. On the Contrary, Minister Scott wishes to assert that it was the company who refused to sign the Memorandum of Understanding prepared by the Government.

The Hon. Minister feels that that was an unfortunate error which the Sunday Chronicle should swiftly correct.