Sugar workers, GUYSUCO lose GYD$millions, tonnes of sugar to strikes

Last Updated on Monday, 27 July 2020, 21:35 by Denis Chabrol

The Guyana Sugar Corporation Inc. on Monday  said it managed to reach 80 percent of its production target for the 2020 first crop but 50 strikes across the three estates cost  workers GYD$37.9 million and  the cash-strapped entity lost 2,307 metric tonnes of the sweetener.

At the end of the first crop in June, GUYSUCO said it produced 37,015 tonnes of sugar equivalent to 79.6 percent of the budgeted target of 46,476 tonnes of sugar; the shortfall  being 9,461.

The sugar corporation said it recorded 50 strikes across the three estates, resulting in 13,868 loss in mandays and a loss of production totalling 2,307 tonnes.

Giving a breakdown of the number of strikes, GUYSUCO said there were 27 at Blairmont, 17 at Albion/Port Mourant and six at Uitvlugt Estate. The loss of mandays were 7,555 at Albion, 4,959 at Blairmont and 1,354 at Uitvlugt. “The financial impact of the strikes industry wide for employees” GUYSUCO said were GYD$20.1 Million at Albion/Port Mourant, GYD$13.6 Million at Blairmont and GYD$4.2 Million at Uitvlugt.

Total production loss industry-wide as a result of the man-days loss, was 2,307 tonnes of sugar, the corporation said.

The crop was closed with 1,093 Hectares (762 Hectares at Albion/Port Mourant Estate and 331 Hectares at Blairmont Estate) of carry over canes to be harvested. This translates to 66,000 tonnes of cane that will be carried over to the Second Crop of 2020. 

The actual sugar cane processed for the First Crop is 492,910, as against the budgeted  539,460. The budgeted molasses was 19,624 while the actual production was 21,194; a surplus of 1,569. Tonnes Cane per tonnes sugar was budgeted at 11.61 and the actual was 12.99.

The average Harvester (cane-cutter) attendance for the Crop was 54.3% across the industry. Harvesters’ attendance at the Albion/Port Mourant Estate was 54%, Blairmont Estate was 50% and Uitvlugt Estate was 64%. “It should be noted that the First Crop attendance was impacted by the circumstances surrounding the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) which saw the employees being off of work for two weeks and this also contributed to the shortfall,”  the corporation added.

GUYSUCO said it continues to strengthen its partnership with the Unions and sees them as valuable partners for the achievement of the target in the Second Crop 2020 and towards building a more resilient business.

The management said it is also finding innovative and creative ways to keep the employees motivated and engaged despite the disruptive transition process which is now compounded by the challenges around the global COVID 19 pandemic.