The opposition PPP/C will help retrenched sugar workers to mount a legal challenge against government over their severance payments, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said last Thursday,
“They [the government] are just making excuses to pay the sugar workers their severance. I had promised that once first payment is made, we are gonna be filing a case or we will support the sugar workers. We will pay their legal bills to file a case to get the balance of their severance promptly,” he told reporters during a press conference at his office.
Jagdeo could not say exactly when the legal challenge would be filed but he assured that it will be done “shortly.”
He lamented that after all their hard work and contribution to the sugar industry and the country’s economy, the workers who are now on the breadline are being given excuses about their severance.
Government had said that the severance to the workers would be paid out in two tranches, with 50% being released by the end of January and the remainder to be paid out before the end of the year. However, workers who were entitled to a severance payment of $500,000 or less were to have received their full payment by the end of last month.
By law, the severance payment should be made at the time of termination of employment and the failure of GuySuCo and the government to comply with this provision has raised eyebrows.
By its own admission the government was aware that the workers would be let go of and having presented the 2018 budget on November 27th, 2017, it still didn’t make provision for the estimated $5 billion in severance payments.
A total of 4,763 workers were severed from the industry as at the end of December last year.