The factory workers of Blairmont Estate resumed their protest actions on Monday afternoon after the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) failed to budge and rather, chose to ignore their valid and principled concerns regarding the breakdown of the system regarding promotions at the estate. This is according to the Guyana Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) which on Tuesday said that the workers continued their protest as they staged a picketing exercise calling on GuySuCo to recognise what clearly is a discriminatory approach by the sugar company.
The Union on Tuesday said that when it arrived at Blairmont on Monday for a meeting, members saw posted a notice asking interested workers to submit applications to be tested for the purposes of promotion. According to the Union, the notice is dated October 15, which is after the workers’ protest commenced. GAWU added that of importance too, is that GuySuCo personnel manual sets out, without ambiguity, the process regarding promotion of workers.
The relevant section of the manual, written solely and wholly by the Corporation, it appears, was not adhered to. According to the Union, when this was put to GuySuCo’s representatives, they were told that the company’s executive has a right to veto the policy. “It brings into question the usefulness of this and any other policy and agreement if it can be ignored and altered at the whims and fancies of those who are charged with upholding them. It seems, the Corporation is taking a cue from its shareholder which, in recent times, has been disregarding and undermining several constitutional provisions,” the Union said on Tuesday.
“The GAWU wants to assure that it is not daunted nor will it abandon its ideals and objectives. We are dismayed with the Corporation misinformed statement and expressions. The GuySuCo, by its unfortunate stance, is serving to affect its production drive which should be accelerating at this time. The GAWU, nevertheless, remains hopeful that the Corporation could come to its senses and do what is right. “
GAWU reminded on Tuesday that the 1976 Recognition and Avoidance and Settlement of Disputes Agreement requires the Union and the Corporation to refrain from using “…written and spoken word of a nature likely to engender prejudice or resentment against the other by means of groundless or useless criticism or allegation”. “We urge the Corporation to bear this in mind and in practice. Moreover, the upholding of equitable treatment and social justice cannot be underscored as these important tenets, it seems, are being disregarded and ignored.”