GAWU and sugar workers protest for pay hike

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Some of the protesters on Vlissengen Road on Tuesday (Tamica Garnett photo)

SEVERAL sugar workers from the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuco) and representatives from the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), on Tuesday morning, continued their campaign for a pay increase with a protest outside of the Ministry of the Presidency on Vlissengen Road.

The cash-strapped GuySuco has approximately 9000 workers at the three sugar estates in Blairmont, Albion and Uitvlugt. GAWU and the workers had recommenced a push for a salary increase since early October.

“The objective of this protest is to persuade the government to provide an increase to the sugar workers,” President of GAWU, Komal Chand, noted as he stood on the sidelines of the protest.

Several government officials have pointed out that the matter of salary increases for the GuySuco workers has to be taken up with the GuySuCo and its Board of Directors directly, even as it is noted that it is unlikely that industry would be able to afford it.
However, the management of GuySuCo has not yet responded to those requests. Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, who has responsibility for NICIL, said any possibility of a pay increase for sugar workers must be dealt with by the board of GuySuCo. Jordan said although GuySuCo is a state corporation, it has to be “commercially run” and “profitably engaged.”

In the past, it was reported that increases were not given because the sugar industry had to be reassessed and restructured in order to return to profitability.