Workers strike, protest for 3rd day

first_imgEnmore Estate closureWith just months to go before the end of sugar operations at the East Demerara (Enmore) Sugar Estate, employees are demanding that the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) honours incentives which workers traditionally receive. As such, sugar workers at Enmore are expected to once again down tools, refusing toEast Demerara Estate Field Secretary Rampersaud Prashadexecute cane cutting or factory tasks at the Estate this morning.Guyana Times understands that the workers will gather in front of the factory protesting what they say is unfair treatment of workers. Field Secretary at the Estate, Rampersaud Prashad, explained that the workers were demanding Holiday with Pay disbursement and 10-year pay incentive. In an interview with this publication on Wednesday, Prashad observed that workers were willing to resume work once a deal was worked out regarding their demands.This newspaper understands that following Wednesday’s protest, management met with workers, and it is expected that another meeting will be held this morning. It was noted that the business community and families of workers will support today’s protest.It was at Tuesday’s protest that the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) urged sugar workers to stand united, as they continued to speak out against Government’s new policy to close more sugar estates. GAWU President Komal Chand had said the Union planned to continue mobilising sugarWorkers have protested and downed tools since Mondayworkers to take part in frequent protests that would hopefully send a strong message to the Government – that they would not accept the closure of more estates.“We can put up a fight and a struggle. And we can force them to come to the table and talk to the Union sensibly, meaningfully, and let us find a way out. The legacy that is left today will haunt people and those who are doing this will be condemned by history,” Chand had expressed.The GAWU Head reminded that Government did not take on board any of its recommendations that were presented in a 12-page paper, which was shared with the Administration in February this year. The Union claimed the suggestions offered the industry a good possibility to overcome its challenges and remain sustainable.“[Prime Minister] Moses Nagamootoo and President David Granger must answer for these decisions they are making. These are anti-people, anti-working class, anti-children decisions they are making,” he told hundreds of workers who had gathered at Enmore.Only recently, Government announced plans to close two sugar estates, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo as part of a new policy for the sugar industry. While the Government has indicated its intention to retain as many workers as possible, the closure of these estates still has the potential to create serious economic hardship for hundreds of workers and their families.GAWU has called for the matter to be debated and discussed with workers and their representative organisations in the industry. The Union also affirmed its position to have affected workers receive their normal work or pay in lieu of work, in the event Government moved ahead with its decision.Guyana Times was on Monday informed that some 200 female workers attached to Enmore Estate stood to be directly affected. This publication reported that at the estate, some 40 women engaged in weeding tasks while another 40 were part of the “creole gang”. It was further disclosed that several women worked as cleaners in the factory’s offices, while 17 were attached to the packaging plant. More alarmingly, it was further related that the majority of these women were married to cane cutters, which meant that both parents of many households stood to be unemployed.last_img

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