APNU+AFC must ensure sugar workers are paid now and must ensure payments include interest. The Ministry of Labor must censure and fine GUYSUCO for violating the law again. APNU+AFC choosing to sit idly on the sidelines is reckless and unfair, another total betrayal of sugar workers and their families and adds to its anti-working class credentials.
Sugar workers are usually paid weekly, every Friday. Before they showed up at pay offices for their weekly wages this past week, GUYSUCO posted messages that workers should not bother showing up because the weekly wages that workers earned and is their legal right would not be available. There was no notice informing the workers when they would be paid. This is not the first time wages for workers have been delayed; it is now a habit for GUYSUCO to delay wages that workers have already earned. Every time it has happened, David Granger and APNU+AFC have been missing in action, choosing silence and preferring to be on the sidelines.
In response to the outrage against non-payment of wages for poor workers, people whose families depend on these weekly wages, leaders of the PNC and AFC are insisting it is not their business. Volda Lawrence, the Chairperson of the PNC, and Dominic Gaskin of the AFC made it clear, it is not APNU+AFC’s business. David Granger has said not a word. Moses Nagamootoo is in “la la land”. Ramjattan simply wants to be the PM candidate. Noel Holder might not know anything about this matter because he has been AWOL for a long time now. Jordan is too busy threatening to fire 20,000 public servants. It is amazing how often these charlatans have distanced themselves from GUYSUCO.
Since when it is none of APNU+AFC’s business? These are workers. APNU+AFC has an obligation to ensure that rights of workers, including being paid for their labor, are absolutely being honored. Since 2015, they have completely and totally converted GUYSUCO from a public corporation into a department of NICIL.
When Granger and APNU+AFC closed four estates, they did not think the decision should have been GUYSUCO’s decision. When they fired more than 7,000 sugar workers, they did not think this was GUYSUCO’s business. When they insisted on a wage freeze since 2015, they did not leave that decision up to GUYSUCO. When they arbitrarily appointed NICIL-SPU to literally boss over GUYSUCO, APNU+AFC did not think it was any of GUYSUCO’s business. When they anointed super-salaried CEOs for GUYSUCO, APNU+AFC never even bothered consulting with GUYSUCO. When they sell-off GUYSUCO’s properties, including GUYSUCO’s land, APNU+AFC has no regard for GUYSUCO. When they took a $30B loan in the name of GUYSUCO, they did not believe GUYSUCO should have been involved. And why is it GUYSUCO has no say in where the money is and how the $30B is spent? Suddenly, APNU+AFC think GUYSUCO should manage its own affairs and, suddenly, these people think they must distance themselves from GUYSUCO and the workers.
One thing is very clear, APNU+AFC is anti-working class. Their assault against sugar workers, in particular, has been disgusting, disgraceful, dishonest, reckless and reprehensible. David Granger not only is the leader responsible for dismissing more than 2,000 Amerindian community development officers, for dismissing more than 7,000 sugar workers and for downsizing the entire economy with more than 37,000 workers losing their jobs, his party is now advocating the dismissal of another 20,000 workers from the public service, GUYSUCO and GPL.
APNU+AFC must not be given a pass for their outrageous, ugly and miserly treatment of sugar workers and for workers in general. APNU+AFC have betrayed sugar workers, public servants and all workers in Guyana again and again. Choosing the sidelines as their preferred option when workers are not paid is abrogating their responsibility and underlines APNU+AFC’s anti-working class credentials. It is remarkable how so many people have lost their voices, as APNU+AFC continue to sink Guyana.
Dr. Leslie Ramsammy