Guyana’s sugar workers urged to continue with crop
GEORGETOWN – Officials of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (Guysuco) are optimistic that the set target of 227 000 tonnes of sugar for 2015 can be realised, barring no more interruptions as the company is 30 000 tonnes away from that total.
During a panel discussion on the National Communications Network (NCN) yesterday with chief executive officer Errol Hanoman, general manager of agricultural services Raymond Sangster and commissioner on the Guysuco Commission of Inquiry, Nowrang Persaud it was indicated that the sugar workers would not be proceeding on a second strike. The CEO expressed happiness that the workers have taken such a decision.
Yesterday Guysuco reached 197 000 tonnes for this year.
Recently the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) unified sugar workers and declared a 72-hour strike throughout the industry grinding its operations to a halt with both the second crop and Christmas being a few weeks off.
Yesterday’s programme saw a discussion on sugar with specific emphasis as to whether the industry can achieve its target of 227 000 tonnes.
Hanoman indicated that whilst the administration is very concerned about the sugar industry, attempts have been made to develop a road map which will ultimately secure workers’ jobs.
Praising the workers which number approximately 17 000 for their efforts he indicated that they had done a great job over the years.
“Let’s work together to secure the employment of everyone in the industry,” Hanoman urged.
He blamed GAWU for miscommunicating management’s position to the workers, which resulted in the strike action.
“GAWU and other unions are not happy with the fact that workers and management can conduct their affairs by themselves without interference…in recent weeks and months significant shifts have been seen in the industry’s operations which resulted in both management and workers being very motivated to get their respective jobs done,” Hanoman said.
Further he was disappointed when the strike was called as it placed unnecessary stress and pressure on the industry at a critical time when they were about to usher in their second crop.
“A more responsible style with the unions must now obtain as their current style is too archaic and adversarial and does not augur well for the future of the industry . . . . All parties must be able to sit and talk responsibly . . . . That is the only way the industry can go forward . . . . Management is prepared to sit and talk responsibly,” Hanoman said.
Sangster indicated that up to today 116, 227 tonnes were achieved for the current crop. He too feels that once there are no disruptions the industry will surpass its target for 2015.
“A total of 116,227 tonnes of sugar (current crop) along with 81 000 tonnes was seen for the first crop…for the second crop 450 000 tonnes of cane are left to be harvested . . . . These stats indicate that we are set to surpass the record set for the year,” Sangster said.
Whilst Uitvlugt would have completed its crop two weeks ago, Skeldon, Albion Rosehall and the East Demerara Estates account for the combined 450 000 tonnes waiting to be processed. The only thing that can hamper the surpassing of the target set for 2015 is continued work stoppages due to strike action.
The GUYSUCO officials lauded the excellent weather conditions seen over the past few months as the direct factor responsible for the magnitude of production, as it assisted in ripening the canes. (GINA)