Dismissed bauxite workers to resume duties within 72 hours
…5 workers refuse to return to work
Talks between the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GBGWU) and management of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) have resulted in the decision to have the 61 dismissed bauxite workers and the 30 who were displaced resume duties.
According to GBGWU, the Union and the management of the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) have commenced post-strike engagement consistent with the commitment at item three of the Terms of Reference (ToR) that all workers will resume duties within 72 hours after the official signing of documents on Friday.
“This will mark full resumption. Whereas the Union will not be privy as to how many have not returned to their substantive job, given that Record of Attendance forms part of the company’s record, we have been advised some workers may not return. Approximately five have communicated they will not, the reason given is that while they are happy, BCGI via the ToR, has accepted the basic rights of the workers to a union of choice and collective bargaining, they can no longer work under the current conditions.”
The Union stated that in keeping with item four of the ToR, that “within 14 days following full resumption of work, the parties shall commence negotiation of a new collective labour agreement…” the GBGWU has begun the process of preparing its proposal.
“This proposal shall be submitted to management not later than Friday, 11th April 2019. At the submission of same, BCGI is expected to give a written response with a view of commencing bilateral negotiations in the first week of May. In the meantime, the branch and management shall have engagement on a number of issues, inclusive of transportation to and from work, and workers’ living condition at the campsite in Aroaima. These meetings shall take place at the Aroaima location.”
BCGI had dismissed 61 workers on February 19, 2019, for protesting against a one per cent wage increase and employees had resorted to blocking off a section of the river which leads to the company’s operation located at Aroaima, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice). A further 30 persons had been dismissed since the affected section of the operation had to be temporarily closed. However, late in March, the Russian-owned company finally sought to recognise the GBGWU as the Union selected by the bauxite workers to represent their cause(s) and lobby on their behalf. According to the Union’s Head, Lincoln Lewis, the protesters had said that they would not remove the blockages until the company, in writing, gives in to their demands. (Kristen Macklingam)