GAWU’s move to court over severance pay was approved by the Union’s General Council

Dear Editor,

The GAWU was indeed dismayed to see a report appearing in the July 01, 2018 Guyana Times which aired the views of a small number of workers regarding the Union’s recent move to the Courts on the outstanding severance pay to dismissed sugar workers. The GAWU, wishes to advise, that contrary to some of the spurious assertions the decision to go to the Judiciary was considered and approved by the Union’s General Council. Indeed one of those who shared comments was aware that the GAWU had decided to go in this direction and had assisted in conveying the decision to workers. It serves to demonstrate the frivolity in saying that our Union’s decision was made by one man. The GAWU cherishes its record of its commitment to engage its leadership in discussions of strategy and tactics, something that was embraced by Dr Cheddi Jagan as our Honorary President and who had encouraged us to uphold it.  The GAWU has remained engaged with the workers of East Demerara as it has been with all workers. That engagement has seen workers participating in Labour Day and Enmore Martyrs activities under the GAWU banner. We will continue to remain in contact and apprise them of developments.

The article also says the workers quoted felt we should have waited another six months before seeking judicial intervention.  Had the Union heeded that advice and the workers were not paid by that time, as several signs point to, those who offered a comment may very well say we should have taken action earlier. It goes to show you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

The fact remains that the workers were entitled to their full redundancy entitlements since December 29, 2017 when they became jobless. Anything else is a contravention of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act, they are no ifs, buts, and maybes. The notion of court action has long been in the air with the Leader of the Opposition, apart from the Union, indicating that such course would be pursued. Just recently we recall the Opposition Leader signalling at his address at the PPP Enmore Martyrs activity that an approach to the Courts was imminent.

GAWU is also very disappointed that in keeping with proper journalistic ethics and some sense of decency the newspaper did not even ask our Union for a response. This is not the first time we observed this approach to our Union by this paper. While we seek to have good relations with the media house, at the same time, we believe those relations must be guided by, among other things, mutual respect and we look forward to this being the case in the future.

The GAWU also wants to tell the mastermind of this latest, futile, attempt to divide the workers for their own selfish ambitions, the technique will not succeed. Our commitment to the workers remains untarnished and unquestionable. We will continue to represent our members, past and present, through every possible avenue.

Yours faithfully,

Seepaul Narine

General Secretary


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