The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) are claiming thatthe Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) is planning to close the LBI sugar estate.
This is the second sugar estate that would be closed under the APNU+AFC administration in 2016. According to a joint statement, the Unions met with the principals of the company to discuss the integration of the estate with that of Enmore.
“The Corporation at the meeting informed the two (2) Unions that the company has decided to have the operations of the Field Workshop, Mill Dock, Field Lab, Stores, and Administrative Offices that are based at LBI Estate be merged with similar operations at Enmore Estate during this year,” the statement noted.
The Unions say the announcement came as a surprise to them and their delegates to the meeting.
“When the LBI factory was closed and its workers were transferred to Enmore factory, both Unions were assured by a member of the current Interim Management that there will be no closure of any other department after the closure of the factory. Thus, it was never expected that the Corporation under the same Management could decide to dismantle the costly buildings at LBI Estate and end the operations which it approved about five (5) years ago.”
The areas that the company has indicated will be closed basically means the closure of the entire estate. LBI will thereby cease to exist. The company, in effect, is using the term “consolidation” as a guise for the complete closure of LBI, the release noted.
According to the release, the closure of the LBI operations would result in over 800 workers who are represented by GAWU and NAACIE being deployed to Enmore Estate.
“It is doubtful that the deployed workers would be offered regular and full work at Enmore as is the present case at LBI. In this regard, account must be taken that similar operations at Enmore Estate have their own full complement of employees, a situation likened to that at Uitvlugt where Wales Estate workers are to be channeled according to a statements by high-placed authorities and promised regular, permanent employment.”
At the meeting the Corporation did not inform the Union when the operations are to be closed nor was vital information about the employees’ future given.