Disrespectful, high-handed GuySuCo undermines GAWU

first_imgBy Shemuel Fanfair and Andrew CarmichaelThe Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) on Saturday commenced its 21st Delegates Congress and further observances of the event will be held on Monday and Tuesday at the Bath Primary School, West Coast Berbice.However, the likelihood of unhindered attendance has increased as the Guyana Sugar Corporation has reportedly disallowed sugar workers from obtaining “paid-release” to attend the Congress as delegates.GAWU President Komal Chand21This is according to GAWU, which noted on Saturday that since July 7 it sought to discuss the release of workers to attend the Congress but were told that the sugar corporation would not do so.According to reports the union received, the Sugar Corporation’s financial status, which has been deemed “cash-strapped” supposedly “restricted it from approving the release of the workers and assisting in transportation”.GAWU noted the importance of its Congress, which is held every three years and accused GuySuCo of undermining the union, pointing out that the denial is an “anti-sugar worker” approach.GAWU in reiterating its condemnation of the entire scenario which it termed a “travesty”, posited that an “undermining” of the country’s “fragile democracy is making its way in the union’s operations.Meanwhile, despite this hiccup, hundreds of delegates turned up at Bath, West Coast Berbice, to have burring discussion on the sugar industry and its way forward.President of GAWU Komal Chand called for a united trade union movement. Zeroing in on the sugar industry, the GAWU head outlined that the trade unions representing workers in that industry must be more vigilant. He also noted that the sugar industry is the most important industry in Guyana.“I take this occasion to call on the interim Management Committee of GuySuCo to immediately end their high-handedness, unilateral decisions which are evident in recent times. We see such attitudes displayed towards the workers of LBI and Enmore estates where the union is trying to meet an amicable settlement regarding the situation there. In response, GuySuCo shut the door to the union. GuySuCo’s behaviour is indeed strange,” he lamented.Also addressing the congress on Saturday, President of Guyana Trades Union Congress Lincoln Lewis called on all trade unions not to allow politicians to deny the unions the right to fight for workers. He echoed the sentiments of GAWU that the rights of workers are “under threat” by political leaders.Opposition Parliamentarian Gail Teixeira in a brief message from the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) called on the coalition Administration to halt what she described as “the bureaucratic way” in which it is making decisions that affect the lives of sugar workers and those who depend on the industry.Former Minister of Social Services and President of the Women’s Progressive Organisation Indra Chandarpal in her address noted that the sugar industry has faced and is still facing difficulties, and there are decisions that will be made which are not in the interest of the workers.“However, it is the responsibility of the government to protect the workers by ensuring that whatever action is taken leaves them with credible alternatives,” she noted.Over the last few weeks, sugar workers and their union representatives have taken industrial action to vent their frustrations over GuySuCo finalising its decision to merge the La Bonne Intention (LBI) and Enmore estates.About 100 protestors marched on Tuesday and denounced what they described as “bullyism” and “hostility” meted out to them by GuySuCo.Additionally, over the last several months GAWU has registered its concern over the announcement in January that the sugar operations at Wales will cease by yearend. 21st Delegates’ Congress hears…last_img

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