RUSAL workers aiming for 7% pay hike

AS the Guyana Bauxite & General Workers Union (GB&GWU) prepares to submit its proposal for the new collective labour agreement with the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BCGI), reinstated employees are hoping for a seven per cent increase in salaries.

For years, the workers were not receiving more than a two per cent increase on their wages and this was the main reason for the recent protracted strike. One worker told the Guyana Chronicle, that they [the workers] are looking to receive nothing less than a seven per cent increase to their wages, and are hoping this is decided upon very soon.

“The decision is that we are not looking at nothing less than seven per cent. We think that is reasonable and anything less would be disappointing,” he said.

RUSAL employee, Ephraim Velloza, who is the workers’ representative at the GB&GWU, said he believes that the best thing is not to focus on a cash-out, but on every aspect that will make their work experience and conditions better. While crafting this may take a longer time, the benefits will supersede just a mere increase in salary.

“It doesn’t make sense going for cash and there is a binding agreement we are working on, which is to get back what was taken from us and that is our benefits,” he said. The collective bargaining agreement, he said, is a reflection of the labour laws of Guyana as well as labour principles of the union. This include demands for double rates on Sundays and holidays, appropriate leave and vacations packages, out-of-town allowances and other compensation packages and better working conditions in general.

In addition, RUSAL workers are calling for the company to pay more attention to the workers’ quarters at Maple Town, since most of the houses are in a deplorable state, since they are no longer maintained by RUSAL. Recently, the roof on one of the houses was blown off as a result of heavy winds.


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