Home Letters GuySuCo bonus not a novel idea as industry production edges higher
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) has recognised that several sections of the media have reported that the Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc (GuySuCo) is seeking to pay workers what it deems as a bonus arising from its higher level of sugar production this year.
For the thousands of sugar workers still employed by the Corporation, the news that the sugar company is considering such an idea was indeed welcome, and, at the same time, it was received with some skepticism.
The bonus, as the Corporation terms it, is by no means a new initiative. In fact, the arrangement under consideration is identical to the Annual Production Incentive (API) scheme which was suspended for a few years now. The API, as GAWU shared before, dates back to colonial times, and is a form of deferred earnings premised on annual sugar production.
For the workers, the fact that the Corporation has offered such an incentive is a clear indication that their collective voices and actions could not be ignored by the GuySuCo hierarchy, and possibly by the powers-that-be.
As the Corporation’s release pointed out, the industry is nearing its revised 2018 production target. It is welcome news for the industry, and is a clear demonstration of the commitment of the workers, whose dedicated efforts have allowed the GuySuCo to reach where it is today.
We noted, too, that the Corporation, in its release, acknowledged this reality. Moreover, the GAWU believes such performances need to be rewarded, as the Corporation seemingly recognizes as well.
At this time, the Union and the GuySuCo are engaged in discussions towards finding an amicable arrangement in the interest of all parties. We sincerely hope our engagements would result in an acceptable agreement.
While happy about this (bonus) development, workers remain concerned that the Corporation has yet to consider the Union’s claim for a 15 per cent rise-in-pay retroactive to January 01, 2018. As is well known, sugar workers remain the only workers in the state sector to have not gotten any pay increase since the Coalition took office three and a half years ago.
At this time, the GAWU and GuySuCo have already concluded discussions on the non-wage benefits. Those engagements resulted in a few improvements being secured. Our discussions this year, the GAWU notes, have been conducted in a more amicable environment. Whether the improvement could be attributed to the change in the Corporation’s leadership or other factors we are not sure, but we are, nevertheless, pleased with the new attitude of the GuySuCo.
We sincerely hope that our current and future discussions can be conducted in a similar or improved atmosphere, as this augurs well for the GAWU/GuySuCo relations. The Union has pointed out on several occasions that our now 42-year relationship with GuySuCo had reached possibly its lowest ebb in recent years, and the GAWU had expressed its commitment to resuming the generally respectful and fruitful relations in the interest of the workers, the Corporation and the industry.
At this time the GAWU has put forward a counter-proposal regarding the ‘bonus’, and the Corporation has committed to examining our suggestion; and expectedly, we will meet soon. The Union, nevertheless, believes that this stop-gap measure cannot be deemed a substitute for a pay rise, which has been denied for far too long though the workers, in spite of the circumstance, continue to demonstrate their importance to the successes being recorded.
Also, it is reasonable to expect that the present leadership, having recognised the value of the API incentive, would undertake the removal of the suspension, and see such a practice as good for the industry’s progress. The GAWU, at this time, looks forward to the Corporation, in a similar vein, positively considering a pay rise.
and General Workers