Sugar workers get 7% pay rise – Demerara Waves Online News- Guyana

Updated on Monday 20 December 2021, 21:32 by Denis Chabrol

FLASH BACK: Opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo pledged the solidarity of his Civic Progressive People’s Party to workers at Wales Sugar Estate following the government’s announcement of the closure of the estate and factory in October 2016 .

Workers at the state-owned Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) will receive a 7 percent increase in wages and salaries, a move the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) welcomed on Monday.

Today’s announcement represents a fulfillment of that commitment, ”the union said, referring to discussions earlier this year between GAWU representatives and Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo.

The union, which is closely linked to the ruling Progressive People’s Party (PPP), said the 2021 wage hike marked a “reversal” of the discriminatory policies of the coalition administration then led by David Granger in which GUYSUCO workers had been “treated like unwanted stepchildren.” “

GAWU estimates that between 2015 and 2019, the real wages of sugar workers fell by around 42%. “The whole period talked about the difficulties and difficulties faced by workers and the challenges they were asked to overcome, ”the union said.

The coalition had laid off more than 5,000 workers and closed several estates in an attempt to save the ailing sugar company that has not turned a profit for decades and to save billions of dollars each year. However, the PPP had campaigned in 2020 on the promise to reopen estates and re-employ workers. So far, Agriculture Minister Zulfikar Mustapha said about 1,200 workers have been rehired. The PPP administration sought to justify the expense by claiming that the sugar industry provides wider support to residents through drainage and irrigation, as well as related services.

GAWU said the decision to increase the wages of sugar workers followed consultations between the government and the union. “There is no doubt that the wage increase approved by the government following consultations with the GAWU will allow sugar workers to recoup what they lost when the former government, it seemed, undertook. to impoverish them and their families.

Repeated calls by the Guyana Public Service Union and the Guyana Teachers’ Union for the government to negotiate wage increases have been ignored. The Guyana Trade Union Congress also called on the administration headed by Irfaan Ali to come to the negotiating table.

Rachel J. Bradford