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Postby duay7t15f » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:09 am

By Leonard GildarieSugar workers, facing the very real prospects of not having their “traditional” Christmas wage increase,NFL Jerseys China, were yesterday offered a five per cent one-off pay by President Bharrat Jagdeo even as leaders of the main union remained absent from a key meeting at the Guyana International Convention Centre.The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) while welcoming the intervention yesterday slammed the way the meeting of sugar workers and their union representatives were organized.Some of the sugar workers meeting with President Bharrat Jagdeo yesterday at the International Convention Centre.Union officials said that it was only Tuesday night that the union was officially notified.Speaking to almost 300 workers, union representatives and officials of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), the President explained that the five per cent is not meant to be an increase and workers had the option of refusing to take it and continue their wage negotiations.The payoff was largely hailed by the representatives with a small fraction of the gathering not satisfied and calling for it to be tax free.The President also hinted at his administration’s willingness to have the five per cent become a permanent increase as of next year but this may hinge on performance targets.Also at the meeting were Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.Before December 31The payoff, which will cost government an estimated $720M, will be made before December 31 and is retroactive to January 1, 2010, the official assured.Earlier this year, GAWU had asked for a 15 per cent increase but low production, increasing costs and dismal workers’ turnout have all been blamed for Guyana, recording this year, the lowest point in terms of production since the PPP/C took office. GuySuCo has said it just could not afford to pay any increases or the Annual Production Incentive for this year.The Corporation owes banks and suppliers an estimated $7B with some loans due already.The meeting yesterday came out of a promise made since November 15, to hold dialogue with the representatives.InsultAccording to the President, in his discourse on the state of the industry, recently he had taken a team including PPP’s General Secretary and GuySuCo’s Board Member, Donald Ramotar, Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, and the Corporation’s head to meet with GAWU’s senior leaders at that union’s Kingston offices.However, there were no shows from that union’s leaders. While not naming the officials,Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping, it was clear criticism of GAWU’s President, Komal Chand, among others.Stressing that his government will never allow the sugar industry to go down, the President pointed out that while several other Caribbean countries has either shut or reduce operations, Guyana has gone ahead and invested heavily even though there was a 36 per cent price cut which saw the country losing close to $9B annually in revenues.InvestmentsHe slammed critics who accused his administration of not paying attention to the industry and pointed to the US$157M Skeldon factory, last year’s $4B injection via a land deal with GuySuCo and more recently a $2B request which is expected to be laid before parliament today.In addition,Wholesale Jerseys 2018, he noted the sugar levy which in the past brought billions of dollars of revenues to government coffers and which was eventually discontinued.But government has not laid back and not done anything.When there were complaints about Booker Tate, the UK-based sugar consultants hired by GuySuCo to managed the industry and overlook the Skeldon factory construction, they were let go.Jagdeo admitted that there are still lots wrong with the Skeldon factory and too much wastage. This is in addition to the factors of weather and workers’ turnout which averaged in the mid 40’s.The President also focused on GAWU’s role in the sugar crisis, linking it to the PPP struggle. However, he warned that sugar workers not be fooled and believed that there were players who were recently hired by the union who had other motives which had contributed to tensions between GuySuCo, the union and government.Labour costs, he said, for producing a tonne of sugar has tripled in the last 17 years moving from $24,Cheap NFL Jerseys China,000 to $71,Cheap NFL Jerseys China,000 with fuel, fertilizers and other critical supplies rising,The President was convinced that 300,000 tonnes was highly achievable in the coming year with 322,000 mark reached a few years ago.Invitation?Meanwhile, GAWU’s President, Komal Chand, in a statement to this newspaper explained why the union was not present at the meeting yesterday.He said that on Tuesday night, he received a call from Minister of Agriculture, Robert Persaud, informing him of the meeting yesterday.However, according to the trade unionist,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, he pointed out his concerns to the minister that several of GAWU’s representatives were already informed and invited to the meeting even though the leaders were not.Again, yesterday an official of the Ministry called to remind him of the meeting.Chand said that he heard that the Region Six Chairman had been “rumored” to have been identifying sugar workers to attend the meeting.With regards to the five per cent announced by the Head of State, the GAWU President said that it was a welcomed move but wished that it could have been made permanent.Chand also drew reference to the two per cent increase offered by GuySuCo to workers against a 250,000 tonnes target even though the Corporation knew that this would have been highly unlikely.“We will be writing GuySuCo for more clarifications on this five per cent.”
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