Remaining workers face March dismissal – sources

first_imgAs former Wales Estate workers, their relatives and other residents in the surrounding communities complain of depleting finances and sustenance challenges, over 10 more families will face similar circumstances as the remaining workers will be dismissed early next month. Guyana Times had reported that while official operations were shut down in December 2016, skeletal staff was retained as the machines in the factory were kept running.However, according to sources within the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), the remaining members of staff will be retrenched by March 5. According to a source, operators within the Mechanical Tillage Department are currently being phased out.“They will be going off one after the other and two persons will remain until the 5th of March,” the source indicated. It is not clear if any of these staff will be retained at other estates.Meanwhile, another GuySuCo source revealed that some eight members of staff attached to the Wales office department, who are mainly women, are similarly being retrenched. Guyana Times understands that these workers are unionised under the National Association of Agricultural Commercial Employees (NAACIE). This newspaper was informed that four of these members are from the human resources department and others work in the finance section.These imminent dismissals come against the backdrop of hundreds of former sugar workers at Wales, Enmore, Skeldon and Rose Hall who have expressed much frustration over the estate closures. This has spurred repeated protest actions across the sugar belt, with many pleading with Government to reverse many of the decisions made on the sugar industry.It was however disclosed that the remaining Wales factory and office workers are likely to receive their severance payment within a reasonable timeframe. This is unlike what many former sugar workers at Wales have faced as they have been waiting since late 2016 to receive their termination benefits after they refused to take up employment at the Uitvlugt Estate. This refusal was formed on the basis that they cannot be compelled, under the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act (TESPA) to travel beyond 10 miles from their original place of work. Uitvlugt is some 22 miles away from Wales.After word spread of Wales’ closure after Guyana Times broke the story, sugar workers were on February 9, 2016, given a three-day ultimatum to sign indicating whether they opted for the severance package from Government or be transferred to the Uitvlugt Sugar Estate. These plans were however rescinded, and workers were retrenched in phases with union consultations.The closure of Wales affected and displaced over 1000 workers directly and thousands of persons in Wales and surrounding communities indirectly. Meanwhile, over 4000 workers attached to Enmore, Skeldon, Rose Hall were given dismissal letters by December 2017. However, some of the former Enmore and Skeldon workers could be re-hired under plans by the Special Purposes Unit (SPU) to re-open the two estates as the State-owned body eyes private investors. This revelation has prompted stakeholders to push Government on rehiring all of the dismissed sugar workers on the contention that the sugar industry remains a viable one. (Shemuel Fanfair)last_img

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