Gov’t will engage GuySuCo on workers’ benefits – Minister Mustapha
Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha says the Government is awaiting a report from the Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) on the stalemate with Uitvlugt sugar workers over benefits.
The workers have reportedly downed tools since Friday to protest a lack of increase in their wages and salaries amid a pending agreement between GuySuCo and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU).
Speaking on the side-lines of a community consultation in Maida, East Berbice-Corentyne (Region Six), Minister Mustapha said, “the Government has not promised any increase, but we will ensure that we work with the Corporation to see what we can do for the sugar workers.”
The Agriculture Minister said the agreements on wages and salaries are ultimately the responsibility of GuySuCo and GAWU.
“As a Government, we don’t interfere with management and union negotiations.”
Accordingly, Minister Mustapha said GuySuCo’s ability to pay the increases would take into account investments it has made since August, to revitalise the estates.
“We have been putting funds in GuySuCo over the last nine months to develop GuySuCo, recapitalise GuySuCo. As a matter of fact, we are starting to see results already from some of the estates,” the Minister said.
The Albion and Blairmont estates were lauded for making three additional days of pay due to the enhancement of the factories through critical capital works.
“Our commitment was to ensure that we reopen the closed sugar estates. We are working aggressively to do that.”
The Minister again said the Government hopes to have operations at Rose Hall by the second crop of 2022, while assisting Skeldon and Enmore.
Minister Mustapha further added that plans are also on-stream to establish infrastructure such as roads, to facilitate quicker delivery of canes from the fields to the factories.
Under this year’s budget, $2 billion is allocated to execute critical capital works at GuySuCo as part of the Government’s efforts to diversify the sugar industry that was hamstrung by the previous administration.