GAWU upholds benefits extended to all sugar workers
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Dear Editor,

THE GAWU’s attention was drawn to a letter titled “GAWU must remember that all managerial staff were also affected” which appeared in the October 8, 2021 Stabroek News under the hand of “A human resources management observer”.

At the outset of the letter, the ‘observer’ pointed out that the pay structure proposed by the Hays group was implemented in 2015. However, this is not the case. As our records indicate in the case of GAWU members, the results of the job evaluation exercise conducted by the union and the corporation utilising the Hays framework was implemented in mid-2012.

Maybe it is the ‘observer’ was confused or got dates wrong. It is also factually correct to say that all employees of GuySuCo received no pay rises from 2015 onwards. This includes the workers in the fields, factories, and offices. Our union has never disavowed such realities.

The ‘observer’ goes on to query whether severed senior staff will benefit from the government’s recently announced grant. We cannot speak for the government, and it may be best to raise such queries through the appropriate channels. It is our view, though, that all workers, irrespective of their category and whether severed or not, should benefit from the grant approved by the government.

Contrary to the ‘observer’ seeming view, the GAWU holds that all employees of the GuySuCo are sugar workers irrespective of the position they occupy in the industry. While our representation is naturally confined to our bargaining units, we have always upheld the principle of equality.

The ‘observer’ speaks about the head office workers who seldom benefit from representation. Presumably, he/she speaks about the non-unionised categories as the ‘observer’ would be aware that certain categories of employees at the head office are unionised within the GAWU, the GLU, and the NAACIE. On this score, we hasten to remind the ‘observer’ that the non-unionised staffers have the freedom of association, and it is their right to exercise or not to exercise such right.

The ‘observer’ goes on to speak about pay rises to public servants in the absence of performance reviews. It is our view, that public servants are hard-working employees and are deserving of pay rises given their contribution to the society. While indeed it was saddening that sugar workers were treated begrudgingly by the Coalition, we, at the same time, do not detest the public servants for receiving pay rises.

Finally, we share the ‘observer’ view that “motivation is critical for all in the sugar industry”. We articulated this point on several occasions during the term of the Coalition though it was ignored heartlessly. We also agree with the observation that teamsmanship is required. Unfortunately, at times, we have recognised that the sincerity of the workers to attain such relations do not find reciprocation from the managerial quarters. Nonetheless, we have long advocated collaboration among the various levels of the industry in order to promote its success.

Yours faithfully,

Seepaul Narine
President
GAWU

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