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Sugar workers strike spreads to Albion

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 September 2014, 13:11 by GxMedia

A strike in the East Berbice sugar belt on Tuesday spread from Skeldon to Albion to protest the immediate dismissal of a worker who slapped the Skeldon Estate Manager,  according to a senior official of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco).

This is contrary to Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy saying that the workers were expected to fully resume duty on Tuesday.

Head of Human Resources, Jairam Pitam said that as of 6 AM Tuesday field and factory workers downed tools. “The people in Albion are in solidarity with those at Skeldon,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

At Skeldon, workers have burnt several hectares of un-ripened cane  that can yield about 130 tons of sugar  valued US$54,000. He explained that some of the sucrose content of the burnt cane could be saved if the workers resume duty immediately.

The Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) has since asked the Ministry of Labour to intervene in the now four-day old strike. The cash-strapped state-owned company badly wants the workers to return to work and pave the way for talks aimed at resolving the issue.

Asked if the worker, who slapped the Estate Manager, would be reinstated, Pitam  ruled that out and insisted that the two sides meet around the table.

Guysuco has already said that there were witnesses to prove that the Estate Manager was neither intoxicated nor hostile Friday night when he repeatedly asked a group of workers at the mill dock to return to work rather than malinger.