More than 100 students graduated as the GuySuCo Training Centre and the Board of Industrial Training partnered to implement the National Training Project for Youth Empowerment
Some 118 young people comprising the 5th cohort of students of Region 5 and 6 have been successful in the National Training Project for Youth Empowerment (NTPYE) offered at the GuySuCo Training Centre and accredited by the Board of Industrial Training.
The January 27, 2017 Graduation exercise raised celebrations to another level of competitiveness with the introduction/launch of a Cash Incentive/Merit Award to the Best Graduating Student/Valedictorian of each batch.
While proud parents and other well-wishers applauded the successful achievement of the more than 100 graduates of the six month programme which got started in April of 2016, former Manager of the Training Centre, over the period May 2005 through 2010, Mr L.D. Persaud, under whose brainchild the programme was launched and had returned under tragic circumstances, was among the list of well wishers of the programme.
“Congratulations to you and I am happy to launch this financial presentation to the Best Graduating Student. May you all see this as the first phase of your academic achievement and be encouraged to take advantage of job opportunities available, an mastering them to be known and recognized,” said Mr. Persaud before making his presentation to Supervisory Management Graduate, Mr. Jermaine Subryan.
Of the graduates, five were certified in Basic Fitting and Machining; 20 in Electrical Installation; 22 each in Motor Vehicle Servicing and Repairs and Refrigeration; 16 in Welding and Fabrication and 33 in Supervisory Management.
Best Performance Prizes were also awarded to students Keeon Playter, Zackir Ally, Ryan Sankar, Ronald Cozier, Deodat Chanraram and Jermaine Subryan for excelling in the six subject areas offered.
Speakers at the event included: Chairman of the Board of Industrial Training Chairman Mr. Clinton Williams, Member of Parliament, Charandass Persaud; the Feature Address was delivered by Mr. Keith Scott - Junior Minister of Social Protection, there was certainly more to internalize as GUYSUCO Training Centre prepares to launch its 6th batch before the end of the first quarter, 2017.
Let the central message which seemed to permeate remarks and even the feature addresses to students remain pivotal through the year as we all endeavour to “Stand up and be counted among those who will continuously take advantage of opportunities available; never stop reading and studying as you embark on a mission of giving back to the country of your birth.”
The Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. (GuySuCo) wishes to explain its position relative to the payment of severance or redundancy allowance for the Cane Harvesters and Cane Transport Operators. There is a current debate as to whether these two categories of employees should be paid severance or redundancy allowance.
It is important to note that, the Cane Harvesters and Cane Transport Operators could only become entitled to the payment of severance or redundancy allowance if their contracts were terminated in accordance with sections 12 and 21 (1) of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act (TESPA).
The question of whether the contract of employment of an employee is to be terminated by reason of redundancy is a determination which must be made specifically by the employer, pursuant to section 12 of TESPA.
On the other hand, the employees, in this case, the Cane Harvesters and Cane Transport Operators cannot unilaterally decide that they are redundant.
In the absence of the termination of the contracts of employment of these two categories of employees, the Corporation is under no legal obligation to pay severance or redundancy allowance. Additionally, these employees’ services are currently being retained at the Wales Estate and were offered work at the Uitvlugt location.
The issue of Uitvlugt Estate being outside of a ten (10) mile radius from Wales does not invoke the operation of section 21 (4) (b), in the absence of there being any termination of the contracts of employment of the Cane Harvesters and Cane Transport Operators. Importantly, the section does not create an entitlement to the payment of severance or redundancy allowance where the employee is merely being offer work at another worksite, outside of a ten (10) mile radius.
The Corporation also intends to transport these employees daily from Wales to Uitvlugt Estate for work and to pay them a disturbance allowance in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement (CLA), entered into in 2004 by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the Corporation. This arrangement is not a peculiar one within the industry. The practice of transporting employees to other Estates for work is addressed under clause 26 of the CLA. Clause 26 of the CLA makes provision for the payment of a disturbance allowance, where field and factory workers are required to work on an Estate, other than their base Estate. In light of the customary practice of the Corporation of transporting workers to the Estates for work, the Corporation’s undertaking to transport the Cane Harvesters and Cane Transport Operators from Wales to Uitvlugt Estate is not a novel situation.
Part of the current debate makes reference to the abandonment in 2009 of the Diamond Estate Cultivation and severance was paid to the same categories of employees. However, it is important to note that it was not until 2010 that the question of severance was raised. Due to an intervention by the Government of the day, there was a final settlement in terms of severance to the employees in 2011, after they had been employed at LBI Estate for 18 months. It is to be noted that this arrangement was quite different from the normal industrial relations engagements.
The transferred employees were paid a disturbance allowance and transported to LBI Estate on a daily basis. This position was supported by the then Chief Labour Officer who acted as conciliator between the Corporation and GAWU.
The situation involving the employees from the Diamond/LBI Estates and those from Wales Estate is different since in the Diamond/LBI case the services of the employees were actually terminated for redundancy, hence they were entitled to receive a severance or redundancy allowance.
GuySuCo wishes to stress that the offer of employment remains open to the Cane Harvesters and Cane Transport Operators from the Wales Estate to go to the Uitvlugt Estate. In the current circumstances, therefore, it is arguable that should the employees voluntarily terminate their services, that consistent with TESPA, they would not be eligible for benefits.