THE 60 dismissed Wales Estate workers would be compensated for loss of wages, for their annual leave and will receive payment in lieu of notice, the Ministry of Labour said in a statement on Monday.
The ministry also noted that it was agreed that the workers would be awarded severance for their years of service based on the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act.
The agreement was struck following lengthy discussions between Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle and representatives of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), the statement said.
On Monday, GAWU accused the state-owned holding company, NICIL, of firing approximately 60 workers on December 31, 2020, who were employed at the Wales Sugar Estate on the West Bank of Demerara without notice.
“The workers were mainly engaged in providing security as well as other labouring tasks. The sudden termination dumbfounded the workers who were completely unprepared for the bombshell announcement,” GAWU had said in a statement.
NICIL, however, insisted that developmental efforts are underway at the Wales Estate and these efforts are part of the Government’s vision to revitalise the sugar industry.
“NICIL’s actions to separate from fortnightly paid workers were in full support of its intent to ready the estate for the ultimate transition,” a release from NICIL stated.
This transition, NICIL said, is the development of the flagship project known as the Wales Development Authority (WDA) from the estate. This project will benefit from special incentives which, in turn, will benefit from a special tax regime to motivate investors in manufacturing, industrial development, warehousing, connectivity and wharf development. And, in light of this, NICIL began re-organising its operations across its varied locations. Since 2017, most of the equipment and machinery of the Wales Estate were transferred to other estates to enhance their operational efficiency and optimise their operations.