GuySuCo is bleeding from self-inflicted wounds

Dear Editor,

A lot has been penned about incidences of mismanagement at GuySuCo and I feel inclined to share my bit being a worker of the company, thus someone who would lose a great deal should the company collapse.

I am raising a few issues which I find most disturbing:

1.  The factory at Skeldon is currently producing sugar at approximately twenty TC/TS which is more than double what it was designed to produce at.
The weekly target at Skeldon is around 2000 tonnes of sugar, which means that the estate has to grind double the tonnage of canes normally ground. If the old factory were rehabilitated, it would almost certainly be more efficient (it was before closure).  Therefore it is virtually impossible for workers to achieve the Weekly Production Incentive (WPI).

2. With the current situation, when the estate makes 2000 tonnes of sugar, it will lose 2000 tonnes because of the factory’s inability to efficiently recover sugar. This translates to about $200M lost per week. I am quite sure that $200M is close to the wage bill of the company for any week. Can one imagine the weekly wage bill of the entire company lost in molasses at one factory each week of the crop? The company though, is incessantly clamouring about its cash flow problems.

3.  The company is claiming that it was in a cash deficit of around $8B at the end of last year. Of that total, nearly $3B in revenue was lost because of the inefficiency of the recovery at the Skeldon factory. How can the company accept this situation?

4.  The workers’ Annual Production Incentive (API) has been delayed this year and has been reducing dramatically over the years whilst the company has been offering a litany of excuses. It would be interesting to know how much of the $3B lost would have been spent on paying the API across the industry. I am sure that it would have been paid at the right time with a huge excess for the company. The strikes would surely have been averted.

5.  A few years ago workers were receiving in excess of twenty days pay as API. This has now reduced to seven for this year. The sugar lost at Skeldon because of the factory inefficiency would surely have resulted in an additional three days‘ pay for 2011 and the money would have been available to pay it. Unfortunately, the situation as happened last year seems to be continuing apace this year.

6.  One would have to sympathise with the farmers growing canes for that factory. It would be interesting to know how/if the farmers are compensated for the factory’s inefficiency. The farmers should demand that they be paid based on the sugar present in the cane sent to the factory rather than the sugar recovered by the factory. Surely they should not be made to suffer because of the inability of the factory to recover sugar.

7. The company has brought numerous tractors which we are now told have no warranty and therefore have to be repaired by the company with no compensation. How could something like this happen? What action has been taken in relation to the person/s responsible for procuring these machines? Is this how the company plans to invest money to make it viable? Only the reverse can happen with this practice, I am afraid. It seems to me that persons at the upper levels of management feel that the corporation would not be required to pay for those pieces of machinery. If the opposite were true than surely better would have been done or at least better expected. Was thought given to bringing a small number of tractors on test first (since these were new types) to ascertain their durability for the local conditions?

8. After the fiasco with the tillage tractors the company seemed to have learnt nothing. It proceeded to procure a quantity of Bell loaders which required major modification in order to work effectively. How long those modifications would work is another matter.

9. The substantial area which could not have been harvested at Enmore Estate because of lack of infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired. One would think that the company would require that adequate infrastructure is in place when doing expansion since the canes thus grown have to be transported for processing. It is simply poor planning by the company to get caught in such a situation. This represents a total waste of scarce cash which the company claims to have.

10. Managers are telling us workers that they are making certain decisions in order to achieve the European Union parameters. Certainly decisions should not be made which contradict sound agriculture principles and business strategy. In the long term the company would not survive without the two.

Editor, the above represents but a sample of the issues the company has done very little to address. The company has been turning a blind eye to person/s responsible for these mistakes and this can no longer be condoned by workers of the company and neither should they. It is more than an opportune time for the company to start holding persons accountable for these costly transgressions. The company certainly deserves to be managed far more competently than is presently the case or it faces the risk of going down.

Everyone in the company stands to lose greatly from the current extremes of mismanagement, even the managers themselves.

GuySuCo is bleeding profusely not from external sources but from self inflicted wounds.  Editor this should be stopped forthwith.

Yours faithfully,
(Name and address provided)

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