Workers should clarify issues before taking strike action – GuySuCo

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is urging members of it labour force to “seek clarification on issues of concern before resorting to strike action”.

This statement was issued following a two day strike by the Diamond Plantation workers.
The workers have since resumed work.

Diamond sugar workers concluded a two-day protest on Wednesday in front of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) because they believed that the union was “moving slow” in dealing with the longstanding issue of severance pay.

When GuySuCo was contacted on Wednesday, spokesman Romel Roopnarine said that strike action by the workers was nothing new but refrained from commenting further because the matter was engaging the attention of the court. “Our position still stands. We’ve already said what we have to say,” Roopnarine said.

Strike action was taken by sugar workers on Tuesday at Plantation Diamond and an hour-long protest was held in front of GAWU yesterday where calls were made for a speedy and favourable resolution in the court to the issue of severance pay by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) to the workers.

After the protest, GAWU President Komal Chand called the action “unfortunate” but noted that the workers had a right to protest. “It’s unfortunate that we have a committee which I thought would have been democratic,” he said referring to the committee set up in the light of the calls for severance pay. He said the protest was held without the union’s knowledge.

Chand said the union was doing all it could for the workers and had moved to the court after discussions with GuySuCo and the Ministry of Labour did not yield satisfactory results.

Three writs were filed on behalf of the union the latest one on April 30 of this year. Chand said the writs were filed based on the Severance Pay and Termination Act.

“The union argues that it is unfair and quite demanding on the workers to take up work at LBI,” Chand said. The Diamond plantation is expected to be closed and GuySuCo wants to transfer workers to the LBI plantation but the workers are asking for their severance pay instead.