Looking forward to fruitful, cordial working relations

Dear Editor,
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the Demerara Timbers Limited (DTL), for the first time in nearly five (5) years, met at the bilateral level last Thursday (September 09, 2021) to discuss several issues.
The resumption of discussions followed the intervention of Labour Minister Joseph Hamilton and other Ministry officials. The DTL had been refusing to engage the GAWU although the Union was the bona-fide representative of the workers employed by the company. It was seeking to minimise interactions through the exchange of writer correspondences.
The Union contended that the DTL’s stance was a breach of the Trade Union Recognition Act, which obligates discussions between the parties. The GAWU also pointed out that the Recognition and Avoidance and Settlement of Disputes Agreement between the Union and the Company required the DTL to engage on a face-to-face basis.
Through the Ministry’s intervention, the DTL relented and agreed to resume bilateral discussions with the Union. At the meeting, both parties expressed a willingness to work together to advance the Company’s operations, while seeking to improve the workers’ benefits and conditions of work.
During the meeting, the Union made several proposals and sought to have the Company soberly consider them. The DTL has undertaken to consult its managerial team before responding to the Union.
Additionally, the GAWU and the DTL have agreed to collaborate on a few matters, including operationalisation of a health centre at Mabura Hill and towards the improvement of water supply in the area. On some matters, the Company has agreed with our proposals, and in other instances have begun to address the issues.
The GAWU is of the view that the meeting was positive. We look forward to re-engaging the DTL soon to continue our discussions. We believe that our working together could meaningfully assist the company and the workers.

Guyana Agricultural
and General Workers
Union (GAWU)