The Guyana Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU) since the announcement of the decision by GuySuCo to integrate the sugar estates of Wales and Uitvlugt, has been misrepresenting the situation stating that all workers will be severed. The Ministry of Agriculture would like to make the following clear:-
- The Wales Factory will be closed at the end of the second crop 2016 after both farmers and the estate canes have been harvested and processed by the factory.
- A significant number of workers from Wales will be absorbed at the Uitvlugt estate.
- The GuySuCo owned cultivation at Wales will be prepared for a diversification program as the canes are harvested in 2016.
The actions of the Union, the Ministry of Agriculture believes is aimed at misrepresenting the situation to create doubts in the minds of the workers about information which does not exist. The parlous state of the sugar industry is common knowledge and the Wales estate is projected to make a further loss of $1.9B in 2016.
The Guyana Sugar Corporation is making every effort possible to ensure that workers remain in employment. In this regard, meetings have been held and will continue over the next 2 months to try to persuade those workers who have opted for severance to remain on the job.
Thus far, thirteen persons who may become redundant are tillage tractor operators. The Corporation is exploring the possibility of procuring 6 additional tillage tractors and if successful, these operators can be gainfully employed at Uitvlugt in tillage operations and would therefore assist in accelerating the rehabilitation of that estate’s cultivation.
There will be several categories of workers remaining at Wales at the end of 2016. Amongst those categories, there will be cane harvesters who will be offered employment at Uitvlugt. Those who are approaching pensionable age will be offered early retirement. If possible, others will be absorbed at Uitvlugt where suitable vacancies exists, whist the remainder will be required for new economic ventures in the Wales cultivation.
All clerical staff will remain at Wales for 2016, since their services will be required to provide support to the other operations which will continue at Wales during 2016. In the meantime, the placement of these workers continues to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The Corporation is already vigorously pursuing the feasibility of alternative economic ventures utilizing the Wales lands and is optimistic that there will be wealth creation and employment generation from these new ventures.
The unions have already been advised that new economic ventures will be in place at Wales by October 1 2016.