–following suspension of operations, in wake of employee’s death
EMPLOYEES of the Australian-owned gold mining company Troy Resources Inc. on Monday gathered from early morning in front of the company’s Georgetown office, after they were handed “lay off” letters but given no answers as to the fate of their payment for days worked in October.
“The suspension and lay off does not affect security and certain persons required to keep the site on care and maintenance,” a ‘memo’ to employees reads.
The development follows the death last Tuesday of Ryan Taylor, a miner, while on duty at the company’s “Hicks One Extension” pit, and the company’s subsequent issuance last Saturday, October 12, of a ‘memo’ to employees informing them that they would have “to lay off employees at site until further notice” since operations have been suspended.
“Up at the operations, we saw the ‘memo’, and they told us to come at the office any time from the 14. They just said come at the office from October 14, so we come today,” one of a number of employees encamped outside the company told the Guyana Chronicle on Monday on condition of anonymity.
“They just invited us into the office and collect our names, and as our numbers call, we go upstairs and they give us their sympathy for the tragedy that happen, and ask us a few questions about whatever,” another said.
They all reported having met with the Human Resources Officer, and despite asking for further details on what the layoff meant in terms of being paid for October, being told nothing.
“That is the part that we’re kind of asking so much of questions about,” one said. “They’re saying the operations is suspended. We want to know if we’re going to get half-salary this month; we want to know what’s going to happen next month,” he went on to say, adding:
“They didn’t say anything about that.
When I reach there, all they said is our condolences to you, and whatever, whatever, and this is the letter that ‘Troy’ has suspended the operations indefinitely, not saying what, when, where or whatever. What we grasp from in between the lines is that they would probably only be paying us from the 1st to now, but they’re not saying that.”
Following Taylor’s death on October 8 at the company’s Karouni Gold Mine, ‘Troy’ was, last Thursday, ordered by Minister with responsibility for Labour Keith Scott to cease operations at all three of its mining pits due to safety concerns.
Taylor was buried beneath the rubble of part of the mining pit which had collapsed.
The company has three pits, the other two being “Larkin” and “Smarts Three”. An Occupational Safety and Health Department preliminary investigation at the “Hicks One Extension” pit has determined that there is need for further inquiry.
On Monday, even as the employees awaited word on the situation, representatives from the company had an afternoon meeting with Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman. Also at the meeting were officials of the Guyana Geology and Mines (GGMC), Minister Scott, and executives of the employees’ union, the People’s United and General Workers Union (PUGWU).
When the Guyana Chronicle visited the company’s Prashad Nagar Office on Monday, a security guard indicated that all company officials were busy.
PUGWU President Lincoln Lewis has since reported that their meeting that afternoon with the company has yielded a presentation and discussion on the GGMCs preliminary report into Taylor’s death.
The parties are scheduled to meet again tomorrow.