Question of an increase to sugar workers is not an ‘if’ but a ‘must’

Dear Editor,
The December 4 article in another section of the media concerning the protest actions by sugar workers on December 3 referred to a conversation with an official of the sugar company. The article posits that GuySuCo’s Chief Industrial Relations Manager, Mr Deodat Sukhu, the leader of the Corporation’s negotiation team, had indicated to GAWU that the Corporation hadn’t “…the revenue or cash flow to pay workers…” to offset a pay rise. The newspaper indicated that Mr Sukhu said this “…was made known to union representatives during meetings in October and November”.
We find the comments of the GuySuCo official to be a startling revelation. At no time has the Corporation officially indicated to us that it would not offer any pay rise this year. In fact, our discussions regarding pay rise have not even commenced as yet much less for us to get the Corporation’s response. At our last engagement on November 20 with the GuySuCo, the company’s CEO, Dr Harold Davis Jr indicated to our Union that the Corporation recognised that workers deserved an increase. He shared with the GAWU that the company was engaging the Government and NICIL-SPU on the issue among other matters. He had expected then that in two weeks’ time, he would have a clear idea on the way forward. Mr Sukhu, during that engagement, was closer to Dr Davis than we were and would have heard, like us, what was communicated.
Clearly, Dr Davis’ sentiments are in stark contrast with that of Mr Sukhu. Undoubtedly, if the GuySuCo was unclear of where it stood on the matter, it would be highly irregular to make any pronouncement. We did find it intriguing too that Mr Sukhu disclosed that even “[t]he board has recognised that workers need an increase…” Certainly, as we pointed out, that question of an increase to sugar workers is not an ‘if’ but a ‘must’.

Yours faithfully,
Seepaul Narine
General Secretary