Sugar workers to get 50% severance by end of month – President

President David Granger

President David Granger today said that laid off sugar workers will get 50% of their severance pay by the end of this month and the remainder in the second half of the year.

His statement came amid growing calls and protests by sugar workers for the payment of their severance considering that they had been terminated at the end of the year.

The statement by the President follows:

President David Granger

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) has been in a state of crisis for over 25 years. The Government has acted resolutely and responsibly to protect the livelihood of workers, to preserve the viability of rural communities and prevent the further financial depletion of the country’s treasury.

The Government, including previous administrations, struggled to maintain the industry’s viability; by:

  • engaging international advisory, technical and managerial corporations such as Booker-Tate Ltd., Bosch Projects (PTY) and Global Cane Sugar between 1992 and 2015;
  • erecting a new factory at Skeldon in the East Berbice-Corentyne Region at a cost of US$ 121 mn;
  • expending G$48.02 bn in financial support to the industry since 2011 and G$32 billion over the past thirty months – a rate of about a billion dollars a month.

This Government cannot sustain the sugar industry in its current state. It has had to make difficult choices in order to ensure the industry’s viability. Its earliest measures included:

  • convening a commission of inquiry into the state of the industry in October 2015;
  • publishing a State Paper on the future of the industry in May 2017;
  • creating a ‘Special Purpose Unit’ to manage the reform of the industry in June 2017.

I iterated – in my address to the 71st sitting of the National Assembly on 2nd November 2017 – that: “The sugar industry is being consolidated; it is not being closed. We will explore all options…to ensure a viable industry, mindful of its impact on the Nation’s rural economy and its residents.”

The Government is committed to making the industry efficient and competitive by consolidating cultivation in East Berbice at Albion, in West Berbice at Blairmont and West Demerara at Uitvlugt. The Corporation will aim at producing 147,000 tonnes annually, preserving three enlarged estates and protecting the jobs of over 11,000 workers.

The Government is committed to the welfare of sugar workers and their families. It has:

  • estimated for the expenditure of over $2.0 bn to provide fifty per cent of severance pay due to all redundant workers by the end of January 2018, the remainder being paid in the second half of the year;
  • embarked on an extensive review of expenditure in every sector to the extent of reducing ministerial budgets in order to find funds to enable sugar workers to receive their severance pay; and,
  • earmarked $100 mn to provide small loans for entrepreneurial activities which could open opportunities for employment after leaving the sugar industry.

The Guyana Sugar Corporation is not being dismantled. It is working actively to ameliorate the impact of retrenchment on workers livelihood. It has:

  • established an Alternative Livelihood Programme (ALP), aimed at providing support by enabling displaced employees to access available opportunities to function in other fields;
  • embarked on the training of employees to work in new operational fields across the industry in places such as the field workshop and providing services;
  • engaged 500 employees from the West and East Demerara Estates with over 100 of them signaling their willingness to be retrained – in fields such as carpentry, masonry, plumbing, mechanical and electrical works and in small business enterprises.

The Government will continue to engage stakeholders, the Guyana Sugar Corporation, Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees and the workers.

The Government is cognizant of the invaluable contribution of the sugar industry to the development of Guyana. The Government will continue to work towards returning the reformed sugar industry to profitability and improving the personal income of sugar workers while seeking to provide a good life for current and future generations.

Comments  

Charlestown shop owner shot during altercation

The police say they are investigating a shooting incident which occurred about 11:20 am today at Leopold and Breda streets, Charlestown during which shop owner, Jacqueline Lagnah, 55, of 83 Leopold and Breda streets, sustained two suspected gunshot injuries to her lower back.

Wave of looting shutters stores, spreads fear in Venezuela

CARACAS/SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela,  (Reuters) – A wave of looting by hungry mobs across Venezuela has left streets of shuttered shops in provincial towns and pushed some store owners to arm themselves with guns and machetes, stirring fear that the turmoil could spread to the capital Caracas.

NY man gets 41 years for killing Guyanese girl

Taariq Stephens (New York Daily News photo) A Brooklyn man got a 41-year maximum prison sentence yesterday for killing a 16-year-old Guyanese girl who authorities said rejected his advances.

Debutant Ngidi leads South Africa to series victory v India

PRETORIA,  (Reuters) – Debutant Lungi Ngidi took six wickets as South Africa defeated India by 135 runs to claim victory in the second test in Pretoria today and also win the series with an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match contest.

T&T judge grants injunction stopping highway project

(Trinidad Guardian) Environmental activist group Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) has obtained an interim injunction barring the Government from continuing work on the first phase of the $400M Churchill Roosevelt Highway Extension to Manzanilla.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×