RUSAL disrespects Gov’t, bauxite union
GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, November 16, 2016
Ministers of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence and Keith Scott are of the view that the Russian Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI)/RUSAL has disrespected the Government of Guyana through its failure to attend a meeting to address pressing issues.
The ministers today, held a meeting to address various issues including workers’ matters with the company, some of which have been in the public domain since 2009.
The Meeting was held at the Ministry’s Department of Labour, on Brickdam, Georgetown.
The Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GB&GWU) and RUSAL have had issues pending due to the dismissal and suspension of 57 workers, several years back.
Minister with responsibility for labour, Keith Scott, told media operatives that RUSAL’s failure to attend the meeting, shows a lack of respect for Guyana’s Laws and for the government.
This is the first attempt to have both parties present at a meeting. Minister Scott said that the labour department has encouraged RUSAL to come to the table.
The Minister further expressed that his Ministry’s main aim is to ensure that
Guyana is given the respect due as a sovereign state, and there should be no compromise whatsoever. Minister Scott reiterated that the Ministry of Social Protection will see that workers’ interests come first.
GB&GWU’s Representative, Lincoln Lewis noted that the union is not surprised with RUSAL’s refusal to attend the meeting. Lewis said, “It is a matter challenging the sovereignty of this country.”
The union’s representative explained one instance where workers had to burn down buildings, and break equipment before their concerns were heard. The union is prepared to collaborate with the government and any other agency to ensure RUSAL respects the laws of this land or an alternative has to be found, Lewis pointed out.
Minister Scott stated that the nation comes first and RUSAL will have to give answers.
Additionally, the department has already sent letters about the local labour laws to RUSAL.
By: Zanneel Williams