GuySuCo’s attitude to workers is a major problem

Dear Editor,

The GAWU noted the remarks of GuySuCo’s Corporate Communications Manager, Ms Audreyanna Thomas as is reported in the Guyana Times article titled `Albion Estate has 600 vacancies after 3000 workers dismissed’ which was published on July 19, 2018.

The article quotes Ms Thomas as saying that GuySuCo would “…like to get attendance up to 100 percent”. This statement by the Senior GuySuCo official is incredulous to say the least but serves to confirm the massa-like mentality of the new GuySuCo. Obviously, consideration was not given to the difficult nature of the field work. At the same time one notes that while the Corporation seeks to have all the workers every day at work during the cropping period, during the out of crop it wishes that the workers stay home and it manages to do so through the offering of depressed wages. From all appearances the GuySuCo wants to suck cane and blow whistle.

We don’t know if it has dawned on GuySuCo that its attitude towards workers through the freezing of wages; the discontinuation of incentive payments; open disrespect and flouting agreements, laws and international conventions; a belligerent attitude to workers’ concerns, among other things could only be tolerated by the workers for some time only. As GAWU has warned before workers can be driven to the point where they may well react to the situation where they work and still starve. It seems that day and time is beckoning.

Incidentally, the Corporation has the option to recruit more than 600 workers who were formerly engaged at Rose Hall and Skeldon estates and with the provision of transport to those workers the work establishment of Albion estate which is 4,000 but has 3,100 on its pay roll, would be addressed.

We recognised, from the article, similar and most appropriate contentions were made by Region Six Chairman, David Armogan in his address to the gathering. Indeed we hope GuySuCo took sincere account of the Chairman’s remarks as they reflect the reality of the situation sugar workers must contend with now-a-days.

We fully endorse the Chairman’s remarks when he said that “…a plan cannot operate by itself”. Indeed it’s generally accepted that the best plans can be reduced to nothing if the people are not involved and committed to reaching the objectives. For us it is simply upsetting that so far we have not yet received a copy of the plan Ms Thomas referred to though we have sought a copy several weeks ago. But even more importantly is an apparent ignorance of the workers’ plight and concerns. We hope, even at this late stage, to finally obtain a copy of the plan that is touted.

We urge the Corporation to consider rationally and realistically our concerns at this time.

Yours faithfully,

Seepaul Narine

General Secretary


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