The Ministry Of Social Protection continues to engage Rusal and The Guyana Bauxite and General Workers’ Union (GB And GWU) over the layoff of workers

Press Release

Ministry of Social Protection

Georgetown, Guyana – Tuesday, January 28, 2020

On Monday January 27, 2020 the Labour Department within the Ministry of Social Protection in an effort to resolve the differences associated with the laying off of 142 workers by the RUSAL, due to a shortage of fuel, met the Management (RUSAL) and the recognised majority Union (GB and GWU) separately.

That was the second time the Department engaged the Parties who initially were polls apart over the matter.

To force its demands Union revealed that it had blocked the Berbice River which proved to be a hindrance to the flow of traffic to and from the Company’s Mining operations at Kurubuka Mines.

At yesterday’s meeting the Company signaled to the Union and the Ministry of its intention to recall the laid off workers once the river was unblocked.

On the other hand, the Union demanded that the workers be recalled and that two other issues being an industrial accident and wages and salaries negotiations be comprehensively addressed and resolved. The Union emphasised that unless all outstanding issues between itself and the Company were resolved the River would remain blocked.

As the conciliator in the matter, the Labour Department took the position that the workers were improperly laid off by the Company and should therefore be recalled immediately.

At the same time, the Labour Department advised the Union that it was illegal to block the river and should therefore take steps to unblock it.

The Department also submitted that the laying off of the workers was separate and apart from all other issues, but all would be addressed in phases, with the recall of the workers being of paramount importance.

In the meantime, the Department is contemplating convening a meeting with the Parties to determine the way forward with outstanding negotiations for a new Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) of which wages and salaries is a component.

The Department will continue to do everything possible within the confines of the known laws and prudent industrial relations practices to have all differences settled.