Uitvlugt estate workers striking over dismissals

-GuySuCo not budging

Some field and factory staff attached to the Uitvlugt sugar estate are striking to protest the recent dismissal of co-workers but the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is holding firm on its decision, saying the sacked workers were let go for serious misconduct on the job.

“The Corporation wishes to advise those employees on strike that it would not vary its position in light of the seriousness of the offence allegedly committed by their colleagues, and urge that they have an immediate cessation of their current strike action,” GuySuCo said in a statement yesterday on the indefinite strike action which began after the workers were dismissed last Tuesday.

According to the statement, the sacked workers, two field foremen and a field supervisor, were “dismissed for serious misconduct” in the execution of their duties.

GuySuCo said the foremen were detailed to supervise the replacement of dead canes with new sets of canes in an operation called “supplying” at De Kinderen East Fields 29 -31. However, at about 11am, after three hours of work, the field foremen with the workers that they were detailed to supervise were discovered in a labour lorry travelling home.

“When questioned by a senior manager, the foremen stated that the work was done in accordance with the required standard.

The foremen were requested by the manager to return to the fields where the work was done. It was found that not only was the work done in a substandard manner, but the payment for the job was above what was the stipulated amount for it,” GuySuCo said, adding that the men were issued a show cause letter, dated February 4, 2014, that requested that they show reason, in writing, on or before February 8, 2014 why disciplinary action should not be taken against them, in accordance with the disciplinary procedure.

The said letter also stated that if they failed to respond to the alleged infraction, management would proceed to take the appropriate disciplinary action against them.

They refused to respond, and as a consequence management on May 13, 2014 summarily dismissed them. “The Corporation deems the infraction as allegedly committed by the foremen as serious misconduct, which in accordance with the disciplinary code is treated with summary dismissal,” it said.

The field supervisor, meanwhile, had been required to supervise several men in the digging of internal drains but a check of the work revealed that it was not done to the required standard, the company reported. “…But payments were made as if the work was done to required output and standard,” it added, while noting that the supervisor, by a letter dated February 27, 2014, was requested to show reason, in writing, on or before March 6, 2014, why disciplinary action should not be taken against him.

Like the foremen’s letter, he was also advised that if he refused to respond, management would take the appropriate disciplinary action. The company said he refused to respond and as consequence he was summarily dismissed on May 13, 2014 for serious misconduct in the execution of his duties.

According to GuySuCo, ever since the dismissal of the men, approximately half of the junior staff establishment attached to the field and factory has been on strike demanding the reinstatement of their colleagues. “There was full resumption yesterday (Monday); as such management met with the Unions (NAACIE and GAWU) separately based on their request to discuss the employees’ dismissal.

Management sustained its position and communicated to the Unions that the decision to summarily dismiss the 3 junior staffs will not be changed. The same half of the junior staff establishment continued their strike action today (Tuesday), with a formal notification from the representative of the field foremen indicating that their strike will go on indefinitely,” GuySuCo said.

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