Following the blaze at the Gafoors Houston Complex on Monday, the company on Wednesday commenced the relocation of workers to its other branches.
The calamitous fire left over 530 employees with questions as to whether or not they would have to seek alternative employment but the company’s Executive Chairman Sattaur Gafoor after the meeting with the workers as well as the company’s Board members on Wednesday, came to a decision that the employees, who live within close proximity of the Parika, East Bank Essequibo; and Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara branches would be temporarily relocated to those locations.
He related that repair works will soon commence at of the Houston Complex. However; it was noted that efforts to create temporary working facilities for some staff are already underway.
He further announced that those workers who were directly affected by the blaze and those that would not be relocated will be given 50 per cent of their salaries during the period that they would be off the job.
According to the Executive Chairman, those workers contact information have been gathered and recorded, and they have been guaranteed half of their salaries.
“Those persons who were affected by the fire, we are taking their names, telephone numbers and we are guaranteeing them a percentage of their salary not less than 50 per cent for the period of time that they are off,” Gafoors said on Wednesday.
He also related that as soon as the company receives the word from the fire department that they can commence repairs on the destroyed sections, the work will begin to have the Complex ready for operations once again.
“As soon as we get permission from the fire department that we can go and clean up, they will be coming back which should be in about a week’s time.”
Meanwhile, workers have voiced their appreciation for the decision taken by management about their employment. One porter explained that he was unsure about whether or not he would be relieved of duty due to the immense losses that his employer incurred. “Man, the boss is a good man. He does only want good for the workers but in this situation we wasn’t too sure what woulda happen. I mean ah sure he wouldn’t ah want fire we but with the amount of damage and the money that he lose, we didn’t too sure where we stand,” he stated.
Another worker explained that he too is relieved with the news of the temporary transfer.
“I glad man, it ain’t easy to find wuk these days so is a worries off ah me now that we know we still got a wuk,” he explained.
A sales representative also related that she is quite thankful that Sattaur Gafoor has taken his employee’s wellbeing into consideration when making his decisions. “We knew he would ensure that we are not left to wonder what next to do. They assured me that I would be moved to another branch until they begin working here again so I am very happy,” she said.
The popular Gafoors Shopping Complex located at Houston, Greater Georgetown, went up in flames on Monday afternoon as workers were leaving work for the day. Reports are that the fire started about 15:00h in Bond Number Three, which contained fishing equipment. Despite attempts by firefighters from the Guyana Fire Service to contain the blaze, the fire quickly engulfed the building.