Demerara Timbers undertakes to rectify labour violations

The management of Demerara Timbers Limited (DTL) has agreed to immediately rectify several breaches of the labour laws that were exposed during an on-site visit to its Mabura operations by a team from the Labour Department last Thursday.

A release from the ministry stated that the company has undertaken to rectify the breaches following a meeting with the Minister within the Ministry of Social Protection Simona Broomes on Monday. DTL General Manager Martin Ting and a team met with the minister following the dispatch of a letter to the company on Friday.

The release said the infractions observed during the visit to the company’s Mabura location and garnered from workers’ complaints include sub-standard protective gear; absence of clean drinking water; employees developing a rash after conveying water from a foul stagnant pond to operate a machine; general hazardous working conditions; inadequate transportation; and poor housing.

Workers stand at the rancid pond from which they are forced to dip water and which they reported has made them sick. (Social Protection Ministry photo)
Workers stand at the rancid pond from which they are forced to dip water and which they reported has made them sick. (Social Protection Ministry photo)

The press release also mentioned the case of an employee whose eyes are damaged due to exposure to sawdust. It said after 24 years of service, she is being denied her benefits by the management.

DTL had been delinquent in attending previous meetings at the Ministry and, as revealed by Labour Depart-ment Consultant Francis Carryl, similarly negligent in attending scheduled meetings with the Guyana Agriculture & General Workers Union.

Emphasising her dissatisfaction with the DTL’s conduct, Minister Broomes said, “All we say is that you must follow the law; if you have unsatisfied workers your company’s production will be affected. Your managers on the ground are dealing with the workers in a very disrespectful manner.” She instructed that the violations be rectified directly.

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