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Guysuco urges workers not to strike again

The state-owned and operated Guyana Sugar Corporation has warned sugar workers that they could be in for a bleak Christmas if they down tools again to pressure management into holding pay talks.

“If protest action continues, it could spell a grim Christmas for sugar workers and their families,” Guysuco said in a statement.

The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) is expected to meet at the weekend to possibly decide on a second strike in two days.

The union wants to urgently enter into negotiations for a nine percent pay increase, but the corporation has been insisting that it could not do so before the lone shareholder in Guysuco- the Guyana government- considers a report of the Commission of Inquiry into the sugar industry.

Guysuco’s Chief Executive Officer, Errol Hanoman said it would make no sense to call another strike in which the workers would lose more pay and the sugar corporation would produce less of the sweetener.

“Tremendous goodwill was built up over the past few weeks as the industry surpassed its production targets. Hanoman cautioned the Union and its delegates against the loss of this goodwill which would accompany protest action at this time,” the corporation said in a statement.

He appealed to the Union, the representatives and the workers to get on with the task of taking off the crop and completing the tillage and planting programs. The Guysuco CEO exhorted them to set the scene for a successful end of 2015 and a successful 2016.  “Let us not be hasty.   There will be negotiations, just not today.  He asked that everyone focus their energies on a good outcome in the evolving road map for the industry,” said the loss-making entity.

The Guysuco boss reiterated that the Corporation was awaiting advice on the way forward for the industry after Government considered the report and recommendations of the Commission Of Inquiry.

He informed the Union that having received a record high bailout from the Government, a road map for the future of the industry was crucial and the COI was expected to recommend a basis for such a plan.  Hanoman indicated that Government is supportive of the sugar industry and its people and is keen to consider any plan that would ensure its survival and sustainability.  He felt the Union and workers have a critical role to play in the question of survival and sustainability.