The Cuyuni-based Aurora Gold Mines (AGM) is Wednesday expected to begin flying out striking workers and non-essential personnel to Georgetown following a sit-in for fear they would not be paid severance, Company Vice President Perry Holloway said.
“About 100 employees are blocking operations and this is unsafe for (us) so we are stopping work on most parts of the mine and flying people back to Georgetown because it makes no sense for all stakeholders to have our employees on site doing nothing,” he said.
The company told workers in a letter that zero harm is our primary concern for all stakeholders and these striking employees must return to camp and wait for further instruction regarding flights to Georgetown.”
The company said flights were due to leave at 8 am and only eligible workers would be advised of the appropriate return-to-work schedule thereafter.
Holloway said none of the employees’ services have been terminated, and the protesting workers “are worried they might be let go without severance.”
He reiterated that any worker whose employment is ever terminated with AGM will be properly compensated under Guyanese law, but no one has been let go.
The company, in a letter to employees on Wednesday, said approximately 100 employees, primarily from mine operations, stood down from their workplace, blocked feed to the mill, and demanded to meet with a union representative and the Ministry of Labour only at the mine site.
Management told employees that that event has not only affected planned mine operations, but it seriously impacts Mill Operations until ore feed is resumed.
With the company now on standby mode, essential services only would be provided immediately to provide all employees the opportunity to meet with union representatives and seek the information they require.
Aurora Gold Mines said it decided to scale down into standby mode and move the workers out because “employees who are currently on “strike” and physically blocking movement on the ramp are in an unsafe situation that must be addressed immediately.”
Aurora Gold Mines management said sriking employees are prohibiting the mill from receiving the ore feed required to generate revenue “for our stakeholders”.