Those Wales cane cutters who are denied their severance pay by the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GuySuCo) since December, 2016 obtained some relief through the provision of a food hamper which comprised, among other things, rice, oil, split peas, flour, sugar, potatoes, and salt, according to a statement from the sugar union, GAWU yesterday.
For the workers, it is noted that their right to severance pay is not being respected. The Government and the GuySuCo continues to push them to take up work at Uitvlugt Estate contrary to the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act (TESPA), GAWU said. Despite the unambiguity in the law, GAWU charged that GuySuCo remains intransigent and that it has been forced to challenge the Corporation’s stance in court.
“Disappointingly, several months have gone by and a date for the hearings to commence has not been set. Given the significance and importance of the matter, and the number of lives who are impacted, we continue to press that the matter be given some priority”, the union said.
Separately, the cane cutters in July, 2017 appealed to President David Granger to intervene to have their severance pay matter settled. The President responded to the workers in early August, 2017 informing that he had referred the matter to Agriculture Minister, Noel Holder for his attention and that the workers would hear from the ‘goodly’ Minister. GAWU said that despite the President’s assurance the workers have yet to hear a word from Minister Holder.
“For us, it seems that the Minister can be least be bothered by the workers’ concern and probably is unmoved by the plight they and their family face. Nevertheless, we believe that the President, as the Head of State, owes the workers concerned a proper response”, the union added.
The Guyanese Solidarity Movement–New York (GSM-NY) through financial donations mainly from Guyanese in New York and members of the Movement made the donation possible.
Assisting in the exercise were Komal Chand, President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and Members of Parliament, Dr Frank Anthony and Dharamkumar Seeraj. The President of the Guyana Rice Producers Association (GRPA),. Leekha Rambrich supplied 305 22-pound bags of rice at a special reduced price. The other food items were secured at a discounted price while Mikes Pharmacy donated multivitamins – all of which assisted in the goodwill activity.