Redundancy pay shouldn’t be end of gov’t support to former sugar workers

Dear Editor,

Several sections of the media reported that Minister of State, Joseph Harmon made an announcement about the outstanding redundancy pay to the thousands of workers made jobless by the callous, heartless, decisions to close several sugar estates in recent times. Minister Harmon is reported to have said that the Government has already identified the source of funding to meet the illegally withheld payments to the beleaguered workers. We expect soon that the Government will advise the workers when their payments would be available.

The State Minister, according to the press, was also seemingly critical of our moves to the Courts on the matter. But it seems hadn’t we pursued such a course the Government wouldn’t have woken up from its seeming deep slumber and finally decided to address the matter. Again it confirms that our decision to go to the Courts was the right decision.

While pleased to hear about this latest development, we indeed hope that the Government’s support does not end there. With the GuySuCo Alternative Livelihood Programme and Sustainable Communities Programme from all indications suffering a stillbirth, there is a strong need for a realistic programme to support the workers and their families at what is possibly the hardest and toughest time in their lives. It is dismaying for us that on to this day the Government has not seen it necessary to visit the hard-pressed communities. It seems to us that the Government wants to wash its hands after the outstanding payments are made. We sincerely hope this is not the case but the indications do not give us much hope.

The suffering workers can be assured of the GAWU’s commitment to press the Government to give focused attention to address and ensure relief to the plight of the affected workers and their dependents.

Yours faithfully,

Seepaul Narine

General Secretary


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