Will GAWU ever evolve to be a mature stakeholder that holds GuySuCo accountable without obstructing Productivity?

It is with much regret that the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GuySuCo) expresses its disappointment with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union’s (GAWU) unwillingness to keep the doors of the Corporation open.

GAWU has organised a number of strike action across the industry during the past two weeks. One would have thought that the cries from the Union about keeping the doors of the Corporation open would be supported by corresponding behaviour; however, sadly, this request is not reflected in its behaviour.

This is a very critical point for GuySuCo. The Management is working tirelessly to bring stability to the business. Having spent millions of dollars on repairs and maintenance during the Out-of-Crop period,  all of  its good efforts are being stymied by a Union that has not evolved with time.

On Monday 18 September, 2017, employees from the Rose Hall Estate were on strike, demanding to cut and stack canes for bell loading, while this demand was being made, there were 120 punts of canes on the ground to be loaded by the bell loaders. Further, the area where they were working was not bell loader-friendly due to the high dam beds and they were well aware of this. The strike lasted one day.

On Tuesday 19 September, 2017, another set of employees were on strike at Albion Estate. The reason stated was to express their dissatisfaction to the Corporation’s inability to pay wages on Friday September 15. They were also demanding a definite word in regards to their payment on Friday September 22. This strike was called even though the Corporation informed GAWU and other stakeholders that the payment would have been delayed and continued to  provide constant updates.

On that same day, another group of employees from Blairmont Estate were on strike, the reason provided was, poor burning of canes.

On Wednesday 20 September, 2017, employees from Rose Hall Estate were on strike, claiming that they were told that payment of their wages will not be made on the said day as was promised, this was despite the fact of being assured that wages for the week ending 15 September, would have been paid that same day.

On Thursday 21 September, 2017, employees from Skeldon Estate were on strike demanding to be paid obstacle payment; this was despite that fact that work assigned to them was not completed.

On that same day, employees from Albion Estate called another strike, demanding confirmation from management that wages will be paid on Friday 22 September, 2017.

Today Friday  22 September, 2017 employees from Skeldon Estate, again took  strike action for the second day demanding to be paid obstacle payment, although they did not complete task given to them.

Also today, employees from Uitvlugt Estate strike claiming that they were informed by their Union (GAWU) that no wages will be paid today Friday 22 September, 2017. This was done even though the estate management assured the employees that they would be paid their wages today.

Skeldon Estate started its only crop for the year on this week and while a wise approach would have been for GAWU to encourage the employees to make the best of the crop, the Union  instead, called a strike on the first day of the crop.

These strikes suggest a systematic plan by GAWU to frustrate efforts to achieve the targets for this crop and that of the industry.

What the Corporation would like the Union to recognize, is that the sugar world has changed and is changing rapidly, hence if GAWU continues with its systematic anti-business, anti-growth and  anti-progress rules of engagement, GuySuCo will continue to be uncompetitive.

The time has come for GAWU to decide whether the Union is for the sustainability of the sugar industry or is against it! But it cannot continue to advocate for sustainability of the industry, without corresponding behaviour.

The Corporation is encouraging employees to examine the state of the industry as well as the response from the Union and to come to a determination as to whether they will support their employer to ensure a successful Second Crop or not.

Finally, it is important to note that wages  for the week ending 15 September, was paid at all estates on Wednesday 20 September, and wages for the week ending Friday 22 September, was paid today. As of today, all payments to employees are up-to-date; the delayed payment last week was the exception and not the norm in the Corporation.

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