The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) in its Christmas message has called on national leaders and decision-makers to match seasonal greetings with real improvements in the lives of workers rather than with symbolic gestures.
The union which is embroiled in a heated row with the Guyana Sugar Corporation and President Bharrat Jagdeo over various issues in the sugar industry said that at this time it remembered those who have experienced setbacks and challenges.
“We refer to those who, this year, suffered the dire, sometimes ultimate, consequences of domestic violence, traffic accidents, violent crime, and hinterland-oriented and universal disease. We refer to our brothers and sisters at Barama and in the bauxite sector who have lost their jobs. We refer to our FITUG colleagues who faced employment and other industrial problems at GPL or DDL and elsewhere. Our own workers in the sugar industry have had to endure a very insensitive attitude from the employer. We hope that the spirit of this season will lead to a more humane treatment in the year ahead.”
GAWU extended wishes to national leaders and decision makers for a good Christmas and urged them to “match their seasonal greetings with real, rather than symbolic gestures. Give bonuses; give practical plans and assistance to your workers for a better quality of life. They need to be balanced in their approach to labour and capital.
As they do so much to encourage those with the capital, there must be a special effort to recognise and appreciate the circumstances of those who labour. Such an approach is necessary if we are to give hope for a great Guyanese future.”
Sugar workers represented by the union were told this year that they would not benefit from a wage increase because of poor production neither would they be given the Annual Production Incentive. President Jagdeo has since stepped in and offered a one-off payment of 5%.