Labour Ministry, RUSAL begin discussions

Regarding the operations which were halted in the Berbice River by the foreign-owned company – RUSAL, Minister of Labour, Hon. Joseph Hamilton said going forward, the company was instructed to present a detailed report to the Government of Guyana.

When that document is presented, a joint technical team will be assigned to review the matter and “the labour issues, I will pay attention to because that is a fundamental issue in this whole matter,” Minister Hamilton stated at a meeting with ex-RUSAL employees on Saturday.

Previously, the former Coalition Government and the Bauxite Company were at loggerheads over workers who were unjustifiably dismissed. In February of this year, the management of the company decided to close all operations and laid off all 326 workers.

The Labour Minister hosted the ex-workers at the Watooka Guest House, Linden, to listen to their concerns and provide an update of the Government’s plans going ahead.

“I further said to RUSAL this will not be a merry go round. We have to document issues and put timelines to them for resolution. And once we have a commitment from RUSAL, I am committing to Labour and the workers. You will have representatives in this.”

The Labour Minister said he aims to ensure that the union, every worker and by extension the public be kept abreast with all the developments as they progress.

While noting that there are several burning issues, he underscored that the immediate priority is the re-employment of laid-off workers and their welfare.

Minister Hamilton posited that being cognizant of the past is important however, “… let us see how best we can pay attention to the present and the future.”

Highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of Guyanese and pointing specifically to those workers who were sacked from the bauxite company, Minister Hamilton said mechanisms are being put in place to operationalise relief packages.

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