Major unrest in Linden was Thursday averted after the Chinese-owned bauxite company, BOSAI Minerals, agreed to reduce the number of hours rather than retrench 37 workers, according to Company Secretary Retired Major General Norman Mc Lean.
Mc Lean said National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE) and the management of BOSAI have reached agreement for the workers to stay on the job and work eight hours daily instead of 12 hours.
Although the union first has to formally meet with workers next Monday morning to inform them about the agreement, President of NAACIE , Kenneth Joseph is quite confident that they would agree to the cut in man hours which would amount to a 40 percent reduction in the wage bill.
“We have had consultation already with the workers. They have actually advised us that that is the way to go so we are confident that they will accept that. Instead of some live while others die, we intend to live together,” Joseph told Demerara Waves Online News
Workers downed tools Thursday morning after they learned that BOSAI had planned to send home 47 of them.
Sources said if no agreement was reached Thursday and they were laid off, the workers would have blocked all the gates to the company’s operations and grind the operations to a halt.
Bosai employs about 500 workers.
Signing of the Terms of Resumption suffered a brief delay after BOSAI’s Personnel Officer Truedel Marks insisted that the agreement include the immediate retrenchment of the workers if they do not agree to a reduction in the number of man hours. She was unsuccessful after strong representations were made by Chief Labour and Occupational Safety, Charles Ogle and Consultant to the Ministry of Social Protection, Francis Carryl.
The Terms of Resumption requires that the union call off the strike and undertake full resumption of work by 7 AM, August 7, 2015; there be no victimisation on either side e.g. no transfers, termination/dismissals, intimidation, retrenchment, demotion, etc; no break in service and that the pending retrenchment be put on hold “until further notice.”
“That in place of the retrenchment workers belonging to the Union’s bargaining unit would be offered eight hours work per day instead of the 12 hours. The Union undertakes to consult with memberrs of the bargaining unit advising them of this offer and confer with management about its acceptance or otherwise at 10 AM on Monday 10th August, 2015,” states the document.
Emerging from a more than one hour meeting under the Chairmanship of the Chief Labour and Occupational Safety Officer, Charles Ogle, the Company Secretary told Demerara Waves Online News that bauxite sales have been declining. “If we ain’t get no market, we can’t produce. No kilns ain’t working, no trucks ain’t moving,” he said.
He provided statistics to the meeting although the NAACIE Presidemt told Demerara Waves Online News that his union did not regard the figures as official because they were merely on a sheet of paper without any company logo or letterhead.
The statistics show that Refractory A Grade Supercalcined bauxite sales have declined from a high of 210,759 tons in 2012 to 177,009 in 2014; Specific Chemical Grade Bauxite sales have plummeted from 126,691 to 64,528 tons and Cement Grade bauxite sales have fallen from 326,161 to 66,440 tons- all over the same period.
Overall, the company says after tax profits have dropped from US$16.7 million in 2010 to US$3.6 million in 2014 , even as it paid an annual seven percent increase in wages and salaries from 2010 to 2013 and 6.5 percent in 2014. Corpporation Taxes paid by Bosai also from US$4.9 million in 2010 to US$1.9 million in 2014.