Govt meets with RUSAL to resolve workers issues

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, February 21, 2019

A team of government ministers accompanied by Chief Labour Officer of the Ministry of Social Protection’s Department of Labour, Charles Ogle met with the representative of RUSAL at the Office of the Presidency earlier today. The team comprised Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally and Minister of Social Protection, with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott and Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman.

“We have had our first engagement with the representatives of RUSAL, and I think we had some very interesting discussions… Tomorrow [Feb. 22], we are going to have a second round of engagements where Minister Scott and the persons who deal specifically with labour will be engaging the workers at Aroaima,” Minister Ally said.

The Social Protection Minister also told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that company representatives of RUSAL in Guyana, Vladimir Permyakov and Director of Alumina and Bauxite Department, Sergey Kostyuk have committed to reaching an amicable resolution to the age-old labour fallout.

“The executives will be taking this matter to their principals, and following discussions [they] will get back to us. Meanwhile, we are continuing our engagements on the ground with all the workers,” Minister Ally explained.

Meanwhile, as part of its mandate, the Ministry of Social Protection will be handing over relief packages to the 60 workers and their families who are affected by the layoff and work stoppage at the RUSAL-controlled Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated.

“The workers are in need their basic needs are taken away from them and particularly this ministry, the Ministry of Social Protection we are a caring ministry we are a caring government we must find a way of giving support to the workers. We have to be able to give them some sort of support for their livelihood,” Minister Ally said.

Guyanese workers must always be treated respectfully, and the country’s labour laws must be upheld, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon stated firmly.

During the meeting, Minister Harmon said the government viewed the ongoing dispute as serious and noted that it was among priority matters on the agenda at the Ministerial Plenary.

“There are two objectives to this: the Guyanese workers must be treated in a respectful and fair manner at all times… Their rights must be respected and at the same time, the company must function and ensure it makes profits for its shareholders. It is a question of finding common ground and ensure that our workers’ rights are respected. We must find common ground to move forward. The issues must be dealt with in a clear way,” he emphasised.

Kidackie Amsterdam.

Images: Jules Gibson.


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