International Unions support fight to save sugar workers’ jobs

International Unions support fight to save sugar workers’ jobs

first_imgAs Government moves forward with plans to scale down the sugar industry, a few international bodies have expressed solidarity with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union’s fight to safeguard the employment of thousands of workers.The Agro-Industrial Workers’ Union (AIWU) of the Russian Federation stated its commitment to the local union’s advocacy, and urged GAWU to inform the relevant authorities that AIWU and its one million members support the fight to save the local sugar industry.Executive Member of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and former Government Minister, Anil Nandlall, addressing a small gathering to observe Enmore Martyrs Day“We stand with you in your advancement of a plan for the sugar sector which focuses on the needs of workers and their communities and wish you every success in preventing privatisation and job destruction. Please convey our union’s solidarity to your members and please feel free to notify the authorities in Guyana that you have our support in your struggle,” AIWU stressed.Similar solidarity sentiments were shared by the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA).stalwart Harry Persaud Nokta and other party members make their way to lay wreaths in homage to the five Enmore Martyrs during the Annual wreath laying ceremony at Le Repentir Cemetery“We stand with you in your advancement of a plan for the sugar sector which focuses on the needs of workers and their communities and wish you every success in preventing privatisation and job destruction,” ATUSWA Secretary General Wander Mkhonza noted.Meanwhile, The Hindustan Unilever Ltd (PPF) is also in support of GAWU’s measures to protect jobs in the local sugar industry.“We stand with you in your advancement of a plan for the sugar sector which focuses on the needs of workers and their communities and wish you every success in preventing privatisation and job destruction,” Kripanath Sonowal, President of the Hindustan Unilever Ltd (PPF) Worker’s Union Doom Dooma in India, stated.On Wednesday, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo in a meeting at Enmore, East Coast Demerara, called on all Guyanese and people living in the sugar belt to continue to fight to save the industry. The Enmore Sugar Estate is slated for closure by yearend and sellers in the area have stated that they are already feeling the impact of the imminent closure.The Opposition Leader highlighted to the gathering the dangers that lay ahead for the 10,000 workers who stood to lose their jobs and their families.Jagdeo added that the closure of the industry has the potential to affect close to 50,000 people, and, in his view, it was a “political, discriminatory decision on the part of the Government”.Jagdeo reiterated that the sugar industry could be sustained and become viable if more attention was placed on fixing the current problems. He also recalled that between 1976 and 1996, sugar made a huge contribution to the Treasury in the form of the sugar levy.Finance Minister Winston Jordan in his presentation of the 2017 Budget had indicated the status quo of the sugar industry could neither be sustained nor maintained.Jordan had explained that based on the structure at that time, the industry would require Government’s support to the tune of $18.6 billion and $21.4 billion for the years 2017 and 2018 respectively. The Minister had explained that based on the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the sugar industry, it was concluded that any money injected into the industry in its current state was money wasted.last_img

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