Guyana sugar workers strike

As workers at four sugar estates staged industrial action on Wednesday, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) has warned that their action has pushed back production even further and could result in a significant loss of revenue.

Workers at the La Bonne Intention (LBI), Enmore, Rose Hall and Wales sugar estates have ceased operations, even as wage negotiations between GUYSUCO and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers' Union (GAWU) take place. About 90 per cent of the field and factory workers at LBI, Enmore and Wales have taken strike action while at Rose Hall 85 per cent have downed tools in their quest for a wage hike.

GUYSUCO said the strike will result in 650 tonnes of sugar not being produced. To date, sugar production stands at 24,000 tonnes, still 13,000 tonnes behind the original estimate. The corporation said it also stands to lose close to GUY$1.2 billion (US$5.8 million) in revenue due to price cuts that will be instituted by the European Union by the end of the year.

GUYSUCO said that it was surprised at the strike action, noting that at the end of the meeting with GAWU on Tuesday, it was understood that the corporation's offer was a wage increase of 4.5 per cent, while GAWU was asking for a 14.75 per cent hike and there had been no notice of any strike action.