Conciliation on API for sugar workers ends in deadlock

The Parties, GuySuCo and GAWU on February 19, 2016 reconvened at Conciliation under the auspices of the Chief Labour Officer to conclude on Annual Production Incentive [API] for 2015.

The last meeting was held on December 11, 2015 where both parties presented their submissions to the conciliator, after which he informed the parties that he recognised they had reached an impasse and that before he declared a deadlock he would prefer to consult with his subject Minister.

Today, both parties held steadfast to their respective positions posited at the previous meetings. The conciliator declared a deadlock in relation to the 2015 API negotiations.  The corporation’s representatives requested and reiterated the position to have the matter settled at conciliation level in view of its current parlous financial state. However, in keeping with the established Grievance Procedure, the corporation reluctantly indicated to the conciliator that it had no reservation in moving to the next level that is Arbitration, if the union did not agree for the matter to be concluded today, February 19.

The meeting was informed that GuySuCo’s total revenue for 2015 was G$18. 4 Billion with sugar sales contributing G$17.2 B. The revenue generated by no means covered the employment cost which stood at G$21.6 B for 2015.

Further, the meeting was also advised that the corporation was amenable to the payment of incentives. The seven estates in 2015 achieved 94.41 days, thereby, allowing the workers to earn G$1.099B in Weekly Production Incentive [WPI]. In addition, a sum of G$1.009B was also earned as Personal Performance Incentive (PPI) by cane harvesters. These incentives equate to G$2.1 B of tax free earnings to our employees. This is approximately 10% of the Corporation’s employment cost.

Notwithstanding, a deadlock was declared by the conciliator. The corporation implored that this matter should end at this level with the union accepting the 2.72 days’ pay valued at approximately G$223 Million. This would allow the corporation to go ahead and make the payment in keeping with its commitment to the employees.

Further, the corporation informed the meeting that it noted with great concern the union’s calls to the corporation’s workforce to strike on every Tuesday.  The union leadership has also hinted in sections of the media of this strike action intensifying over the coming weeks.

Given the corporation’s very poor financial health, if this call were to be answered by the workforce in the coming weeks, it will cause a major disruption of the current crop and would only deepen the financial woes of GuySuCo. It would mean the factories having to stop and start on a regular basis, a situation that would not be financially sustainable. All the stakeholders, including the union are fully aware of the negative implications of this action.

Such behaviour by the union would leave the corporation with no alternative but to put a halt to the current crop until the union gives it fullest commitment to allowing the crop to proceed unhindered.


Corey Young

Systems Development Officer