After the Report of the COI into GUYSUCO was made public several questions and issues were raised in the media regarding the accuracy and intent of the data presented to show the relative earnings of rank and file sugar workers. The majority of Guysuco workers are piece- or task-rated such as cane-harvesters who are paid on the basis of the amount of work done as opposed to others who are time-rated i.e paid by the hour or day or week or month, irrespective of the amount of work done.
The ‘preamble’ to the presentation of the earnings data is titled: “Myths about earnings of Field Workers” and it goes on to acknowledge that “It is generally felt that Field Workers, especially piece workers, are not doing as well, earnings wise, as their counterpart time workers, Foremen and Supervisors especially because they do not get full year-round employment or because they have to haggle over ‘extras’ etc”. The Report then compares the 2014 Annual Gross Salaries earned by time workers, Charge hands, Foremen and Supervisors with the 2014 Annual Gross Earnings of various categories of piece workers who typically work less than a full year, given the in-crop and out-of-crop realities of GUYSUCO field operations.
The Report goes on to state that the most revealing conclusion that can be drawn from the statistical data is “the fact that Field piece workers can earn more than their counterparts doing time work and even their Foremen and Supervisors”. These assertions are derived from the following statistics:
(a)Comparative annualized Salary Scales vis-à-vis annualized Earnings of Piece Workers (2014)
Annualized Salary Scales for Time Workers
|Band (Category)||GAWU – Weekly Scales x 52
– Daily Scales x 5 x 52
– Monthly Scales x 12
|1||$ 516 K –$ 1.0 M||$660 K – $1.1 M|
|2||$ 594 K – $1.2 M||$696 K – $1.4 M|
|3||$ 683 K– $1.4 M||$852 K –$ 1.7 M|
|4||$ 785 K – $1.6 M||$1.0 M – $2.0 M|
|5||$ 903 K –$ 1.8 M||$1.3 M –$ 2.5 M|
Annualized High and Mid-Level Earnings in Various Field Operations (2014)
(Average of Seven Estates)
|Field Operations||High Earners||Mid-Level Earners|
|Harvesting (Cane Cutters)||$ 2,470,339||$ 1,205,810|
|Cane Transport||$ 2,972,976||$ 1,531,664|
|Mechanical Tillage||$ 2,911,193||$ 1,448,120|
|Field Workshop||$ 2,672,569||$ 1,220,785|
|Planting||$ 1,833,487||$ 955,066|
|Fertilizing||$ 1,973,438||$ 943,029|
|Pest Control||$ 1,890,380||$ 954,196|
|Weeding||$ 870,771||$ 497,190|
- The above salary scales were derived from the Agreements with GAWU & NAACIE for 2014
- The Field workers earnings ranges were derived from the payroll data supplied by Guysuco for all seven Estates showing the typical average earnings of mid to high level earners. It is important to note that the differential between high, mid and low level earners is more a function of their variable attendance at work as opposed to the price paid for the work done. For example in 2014 the average attendance rate across the Industry was 58% for cane harvesters and 71% for other field workers.
- A comparison was also done with the current salary scales for Teachers and Civil Servants all of which show that the earnings of Guysuco workers compare quite favourably especially when one considers their actual attendance at work.
As a double-check on the data supplied by GUYSUCO, the COI independently and directly approached the ISD (Information Systems Dept. of Guysuco) for corroborative data on the average daily gross pay of rank and file workers. This resulted in the following data which, in the considered opinion of the COI, validates the conclusion that GuySuCo piece workers are, comparatively, reasonably well paid:
|Ave Daily Gross Pay||# of employees|
|# of days worked||# of employees|
For further clarification of the above statistics the following observations are made regarding Field/Factory workers’ earnings and attendance at work:
(a) 35% earn up to $4000. per day
(b) 60% earn from $4000 to $8000. per day
(c) 5% earn above $8000. per day
Re attendance at work:
(d) 20% attend work for less than 100 days per year
(e) 15% ,, ,, ,, 100-150 days per year
(f) 22% ,, ,, ,, 150-200 ,, ,, ,,
(g) 22% ,, ,, ,, 200-250 ,, ,, ,,
(h) 21% ,, ,, ,, over 250 ,, ,, ,,
Questions have been raised in the media as to the reason for the chronic ‘shortage of workers’ in the fields, given the relatively good earnings potential in Guysuco as presented above. In this context it is necessary to emphasize the following:
- The ‘vacancy rate’ is negligible (as measured by the number of employees on roll vis-à-vis GuySuCo budgeted establishment). The problem is with the attendance which suffers because the formula for ‘qualifying ‘ to remain on roll and enjoy all the benefits of a regular worker is overly liberal and augmented by several premia available for week-end work as detailed in the COI Report. Furthermore, many employees attend the barest minima to ‘qualify’ for Guysuco benefits then they opt to work elsewhere (rice, cash crops, construction and goldfields where Income tax and NIS deductions are not made as is done at Guysuco).
- GUYSUCO has not done as good a job as they might have to publicize that it is a good employer (despite the extraordinarily high incidence of strikes and apparent strife in the industry.); its communication and PR have not been as good as it could have been and the COI Report does say so quite unequivocally.