GuySuCo, GAWU wages talk broke down again

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– as Corporation withdrew 3% increase offer
– country-wide strike expected
WORKERS at all sugar estates throughout the country are expected to go on strike today after wages/salaries negotiations between the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) yesterday broke down again.

GAWU’s General Secretary, Mr. Seepaul Narine told the Chronicle, that GuySuCo in a dramatic move at the end of yesterday’s conciliatory proceedings, withdrew its offer of three per cent increase in wages/salaries for this year.

He said the union’s representatives at the various estates have already communicated the unusual and provocative decision by GuySuCo.

Narine reported that the workers are incensed by the Company’s move and those at the Rose Hall Estate on hearing the news yesterday, downed tools, forcing the factory to cease operation.

A GAWU’s source describes GuySuCo’s action as “arrogant” and said most likely workers at the various estates will go on a stand-off today.

The Union, in a release, said its 50-odd member team was astonished by GuySuCo’s latest approach to the negotiation, pointing out that the act of provocation taken was unprecedented.

“The union sought to end the conciliatory proceedings before the Chief Labour Officer deemed the talks deadlock, to reach a settlement, but the Corporation remained obstinate.

“Members of the union’s delegation opined that the corporation’s three per cent position became unchangeable at this time since the number most likely is identifiable with the Government’s position, noting Dr. Roger Luncheon at a recent post cabinet press briefing, as reported in the October 16, 2009 edition of the Kaieteur News, reportedly alluded to the need for political intervention regarding GuySuCo’s wage dispute,” the release concluded.

GAWU during the negotiation has adjusted its initial demand for a 15 per cent wages/salaries increase for 2009 to 10 per cent after considering the grim financial state of the Corporation.

But GuySuCo, from the start of the negotiation made it clear they cannot afford to pay more than a three per cent wages and salaries increase to workers and maintained that position throughout the discussion.