Govt, RUSAL meet to discuss dismissal of 60 workers

first_imgAfter 60 striking workers who were dismissed by bauxite company – Russian Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) – which is owed by RUSAL, for downing tools in protest of an arbitrary one per cent salary increase, Government met with the company on Wednesday.Led by Minister of State Joseph Harmon; Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman; Social Protection Minister Amna Ally; and Junior Social Protection Minister with responsibility for Labour, Keith Scott; along with RUSAL’s representative Vladimir Permyakov and Director of Alumina and Bauxite Department at RUSAL, Sergey Kostyuk; met to discuss ways in which the issue can be resolved in an amicable manner.Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman; Social Protection Minister, Amna Ally and Chief Labour Officer, Charles Ogle meeting with RUSAL’s representative, Vladimir Permyakov and Director of Alumina and Bauxite Department at RUSAL, Sergey KostyukDuring the meeting, Harmon asserted that Guyanese workers must be treated in a respectful manner and the country’s labour laws must be upheld.“There are two objectives to this: the Guyanese workers must be treated in a respectful and fair manner at all times; their rights must be respected and at the same time, the company must function and ensure it makes profits for its shareholders. It is a question of finding common ground and ensure that our workers’ rights are respected. We must find common ground to move forward. The issues must be dealt with in a clear way,” Harmon is quoted by the Ministry of the Presidency as saying.Ally also shared that the Government has sought to lay out its contentions, giving the company an equal opportunity to do so as well. Adding to that, the dismissed workers will also get a chance to be heard today via a meeting with Government at Aroaima.Officials from the company also committed to making a decision after further discussions with their principals.Meanwhile, at a press conference on Friday last, when asked for a comment on the issue, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo said Guyana’s laws must be upheld.The 60 workers were fired by the bauxite company for protesting against a one per cent salary increase. On Tuesday, residents of Kwakwani, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) in disagreement with the dismissal of the striking employees attached to the company retaliate by blocking the access road which leads to the company located at Aroaima.During initial deliberations, representatives of the company stated that they do not recognise the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GBGWU), which has been advocating for the affected workers.“We have no relation with this union,” the Russian company’s representative said. “It happened before I came to Guyana to work… it was an alternative poll. This poll took place on October 3, 2017. It was won by Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union.“Only a few weeks after, we got information that the Judge in (a case decided) this board was constituted with some breaches and could be considered illegal. It meant former worker was considered by decision of judge illegal. I think many people knew the Board was illegal. But nobody said to us such a (poll) could be considered nil and void.”This is a reference to the judgement issued in the case of the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Board (TURCB) versus the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG).FITUG General Secretary Carvil Duncan had claimed that TURCB unilaterally appointed a chairman in 2015 without consulting them, and only recognised the Guyana Trades Union Congress.In the written judgement issued by the High Court on November 8, 2017, it said FITUG was not consulted prior to the appointment of a chair in 2015. This was found to be in violation of the Trade Union Recognition Act, especially as it relates to the selection of a chairman of the organisation.Chairman of the Union, Lewis maintained that the company has no authority to ascertain this, stating that it a responsibility of the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Board (TURCB).last_img read more