GAWU voices grave concern over sugar

-calls for revamped GuySuCo board

The main sugar union GAWU, today expressed grave concern over the state of the sugar industry and urged the revamping of the GuySuco board.

In its Republic Anniversary message, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union said:

“From GAWU’s perspective the most negative occurrence in the recent history of the Republic is the real, clear and present danger to Guyana’s sugar industry which employs thousands of our members. The blame game can never restore the fortunes of this life line economic industry. A revamped GuySuCo board and management skill sets; motivation for harvesters and factory workers to returns to the fields and ancillary projects, among other things, all must combine to bring sugar back”.

While traditionally closely aligned to the PPP/C, GAWU has taken an increasingly critical and independent line over the government’s and GuySuCo’s handling of the industry.

Years of poor sugar production and financial results and intractable problems at the intended flagship Skeldon factory have left analysts pondering the fate of the industry.

The union also called for political dialogue at the highest levels to settle the country’s problems in a move that would also be seen as a divergence from the PPP/C line that the opposition has behaved irresponsibly.

The union said:

“Elsewhere in the Republic GAWU sees the need for political dialogue at the highest levels to resolve differences affecting the productive management of the state, its resources and governance. Selfish “victories” should not prevent brilliant minds from both sides of the aisle, to bargain agreements to overcome parliamentary, budgetary, legislative or even judicial challenges. The 2011 electorate expects nothing less from our parliamentary legislators and political representatives.”

 

GAWU’s full message follows:

GAWU’s 2014 Republic Anniversary Message

The start and run-up to the culmination of the Mashramani “Season” sometimes tend to submerge the main event which is really the annual observances of Guyana’s Republican status.

The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) has nothing against the fun, frolic and creativity surrounding the Mashramani component of this national anniversary.

However, as a major representative of the country’s labour movement and the bargaining agent for thousands of workers from various vital sectors of the economy, GAWU is obliged to attempt to assess just what forty-four (44) years as a Republic has delivered for the working-class.

Workers, especially the humble, hardworking labourers, factory-workers, agricultural harvesters, heavy duty drivers, the hundreds of ladies in the sea-food and the commercial sectors, among others, represent the base and foundation of any economy. GAWU will never disrespect the role of academics, teachers, nurses, lawyers, architects, engineers and other professionals. All are needed to manifest levels of production largely left to the toils of the lower levels. Obviously there must be collaboration at all levels for productivity and economic progress to be sustained.

Guyana’s two major political parties provided the governments between the Republic Year of 1970 to 1992, twenty-two years; then 1992 to the present, another twenty-two years. What then has been the socio-economic legacy after the past forty-four (44) years?

To be fair the PPP/C governments have provided an enabling environment through worker-friendly legislation, for effective worker representation. Whether today’s trade unions are properly organized, structured and funded to be effective is another story. From GAWU’s perspective the most negative occurrence in the recent history of the Republic is the real, clear and present danger to Guyana’s sugar industry which employs thousands of our members. The blame game can never restore the fortunes of this life line economic industry. A revamped GuySuCo board and management skill sets; motivation for harvesters and factory workers to returns to the fields and ancillary projects, among other things, all must combine to bring sugar back.

Elsewhere in the Republic GAWU sees the need for political dialogue at the highest levels to resolve differences affecting the productive management of the state, its resources and governance. Selfish “victories” should not prevent brilliant minds from both sides of the aisle, to bargain agreements to overcome parliamentary, budgetary, legislative or even judicial challenges. The 2011 electorate expects nothing less from our parliamentary legislators and political representatives.

GAWU, therefore, urges sober reflection and wise peaceful counsel amongst all citizens during and after the joyous celebration of Republic Day 2014.

 

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