Sugar workers to receive bonuses

– as GuySuCo expects to achieve target

After years of complaining that they have not received added financial benefits since the coalition Government came into office, remaining workers in sugar belt are set to have a brighter Christmas with the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s (GuySuCo) announcement that Weekly Production Incentives (WPI) will be paid. This comes on the heels of the revelation that GuySuCo is set to achieve it target for 2018.
This was related through an official release which stated that as of December 12, 2018, 100,485 tonnes of sugar was produced thus far for the year out of the production target of 103,000 tonnes of sugar. This reflected in excess of 12,000 tonnes more than what was achieved for the entire year, 2017, from the three estates – Albion, Blairmont and Uitvlugt. This latest news came as a departure from the gloomy outlook of which many had predicted and had characterised the industry.
“Thus far, the three estates have collectively surpassed their weekly targets on 26 occasions for the year which translates to payment of Weekly Production Incentive (WPI). The qualified employees’ will therefore receive a bonus for the year 2018, as a reward for their performance and the value of which would be dependent on the final production,” GuySuCo said on Wednesday.
The Corporation took the opportunity to thank all employees for “remaining focused on the task at hand and delivering a successful target.” It said too that with a few weeks left for the Second Crop, “employees are encouraged to maintain the team spirit and managers must continue to show strong leadership and management in 2019.”
Only recently, dismissed sugar workers were finally paid their severance benefits after being fired following Government’s cost cutting measures. Thousands of dismissed sugar workers are finding great difficulty in securing alternative jobs following their retrenchment in late 2016 and 2017. Wales was closed in December 2016 while the closures of Rose Hall, Enmore and Skeldon were completed by the end of 2017. The latter three were later reopened under small operations as part of the Administration’s move to garner private investors.
In early November, the National Assembly gave approval for almost $2.5 billion to cater for the remaining severance to 4723 sugar workers. However, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union announced earlier this week that plans were afoot to terminate the services of dozens more sugar estate workers, adding to the thousands already jobless. The Union noted that these are workers that were retained following the closures of the Wales, Skeldon, Rose Hall and East Demerara estates to maintain skeleton operations at the factories. These workers were involved mainly in security, drainage and irrigation and power house operations.
It reminded that GuySuCo had indicated that it was always its intention to have the workers terminated and it is now giving effect to its intent. GAWU described the situation as saddening, saying that more workers have had to lose their jobs occasioned by the “short-sighted and wrong haphazard decision” to minimise the sugar industry.