130 Guyanese laid off as RUSAL closure triggers German transshipment company exit

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 April 2020, 22:29 by Writer

More than 130 workers have been sent home as a result of the Germany-headquartered, Oldendorff Carriers Guyana Inc (OCGI) closure of its transshipment service in Guyana three months after the Russian Aluminium (RUSAL)-majority owned bauxite company shut down its operations.

“Unfortunately, OCGI’s customer in Guyana has decided to suspend and mothball its operation in Guyana and thus not to extend the operational contract with OCGI. Consequently, OCGI is forced to wind down operations in Guyana,” Oldendorff Carriers Guyana Inc; (OCGI) said on Tuesday

Since 2005, OCGI has been performing a barging and transshipment operation for bauxite exports on the Berbice River, but Oldendorff decided to wind up operations in Guyana two months after RUSAL sent home about 300 workers due to an unresolved labour dispute and unrest by dissatisfied workers.

OCGI said that on Monday it delivered the letters of notice to the office of the Chief Labour Officer and to the workers’ union. The company promised to work closely with the Chief Labour Officer to ensure that the wind-down is done in accordance with Guyanese law.

OCGI, currently employs 132 Guyanese in the Berbice region, and had been contracted by RUSAL to move bauxite from its operations in the Upper Berbice River to the transshipment station at the mouth of the Berbice River where large ocean-going vessels had picked up consignments destined for other countries.

The company says it will also work together with the Ministry of Social Protection and the Department of Labour to ensure that all employees receive their due compensation under Guyanese law and assist in finding other jobs. “Wherever possible, OCGI will work with our employees, the government and other stakeholders to redeploy employees affected by the wind-down,” the company says.

The company expressed “deepest regret” that it “must close” its operations in Guyana. Over the past 15 years, OCGI says it has developed a very dedicated and loyal workforce who have performed very well, often under difficult conditions.

OCGI says it is very proud of what it has achieved together with its employees in Guyana. OCGI says it has developed wonderful working relationships with the people of Guyana, particularly in New Amsterdam and up the Berbice River.

“The company is truly sad to leave this beautiful country,” Oldendorff said.