The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) has reported that another strike was staged today by 1700 sugar workers. This was told to the Government Information Agency (GINA) by the corporation’s Finance Director, Paul Bhim.
In a telephone interview with GINA, Bhim said the impact of the strike will be known tomorrow. The first crop only recently commenced and GINA reported yesterday that the corporation was on track with its production that is 11,243 tonnes (as of yesterday). All the factories recently started grinding with the exception of Skeldon which is due to begin on Thursday. This first crop target is 80,500 tonnes.
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) said it would be calling for a 24-hour strike every Tuesday to press for negotiations to iron out issues relating to wages, the Annual Production Incentive (API), and closure of the Wales estate.
The corporation has already made clear its position on these matters in light of its financial situation which it is working to reverse. GuySuco stated that a huge investment is needed for the rehabilitation of the Wales estate, one it cannot afford. On the issue of the API, it stated that it could only afford two-and-a-half days, but the union has been clamouring for five-and-a-half days.
The industry is seeking to continue reversing its ineffective performance and return to profitability eventually. The merging of the Wales and Utivlugt Estates is one of the measures being taken to ensure this goal is achieved. The overall target for 2016 is approximately 240,000 tonnes.
Although the company achieved the 2015 production target, it still has to battle weakening prices, aged machinery and high production costs, hence Government has approved the sum of $9Billion for the corporation for 2016.