Transferred Wales Estate workers not reporting for duty
DPI, GUYANA, Monday, October 16, 2017
Some of the 350 sugar workers who were transferred from the Wales Estate to Uitvlugt have not reported for duty and are requesting severance instead.
Chief Industrial Relations Manager of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Deodat Sukhoo, said currently only 140 of the 350 labourers have begun working at Uitvlugt.
“During last crop, they refused to because they were asking similarly to their colleagues to be paid severance,” Sukhoo noted. Since dissolution operations began at Wales estate, GuySuCo has paid severance to 389 workers to the value of $338M.
At a recent press conference, GuySuCo dismissed claims being “peddled” in the media concerning the non-payment of workers from Wales.
“Had those employees taken up their position or jobs at Uitvlugt between January and August they would’ve worked for over $100M and so a lot of what is being peddled in the media and in other spaces is not necessarily true as it relates to the corporation,” Senior Communications Officer Audreyanna Thomas noted.
The estimated 200 workers now run the risk of self-termination if they do not report to work. “If you don’t work three crops and qualify you’re self-terminated and if you stayed away from two consecutive crops without working you’ve self-terminated,” Sukhoo explained.
He added, that while it may be too soon to declare self-termination, it appears that some of these absentee workers have been otherwise occupied. “What we understand also is that most of them have moved on in life; they are working with different companies,” Sukhoo disclosed.
The unions in the sugar industry were also called out for not working in the best interest of the workers. Thomas observed that engagements pertaining to labour representation are often relegated to “second to the unions” which creates a challenge.
“We would like to engage the Union specifically as it relates to labour representation as well as the business of sugar” Thomas said.
Attendance and industrial actions, particularly, strikes, are challenges to the corporation’s production.
GuySuCo is reorganising its business model to become cash positive by 2020 as the sugar industry downsizes. Thomas said the unions must also reorganise their business models if the industry is to be successful again.
By: Tiffny Rhodius