Sugar workers in Guyana stage protest to demand salary increases

Some of the sugar workers during the recent peaceful protest infront of the Ministry of the Presidency. (Photo: newsroom.gy)

Sugar workers in Guyana on Tuesday staged a peaceful protest outside the Ministry of the Presidency in support of salary increases.

The Guyana Agriculture and General Workers Union (GAWU) said sugar workers wanted President David Granger to address their issue regarding salaries and wages.

“Since he took office as President up to today sugar workers have not received a cent increase, despite they have campaign that they will give 20 per cent increase per year,” said GAWU general secretary, Seepaul Narine.

No response

Narine said sugar workers had submitted a petition signed by thousands of workers to Granger last year regarding salary increases but that there has been no response from the coalition government.

“Since he took office as President up to today sugar workers have not received a cent increase.”

— GAWU general secretary, Seepaul Narine

“We sent it to the President, [and] the President said he sent it to Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) for advice. We are informed that GuySuCo did respond, we write him [President] again and he said that he has sent it to (Labour) Minister (Noel) Holder and that we will hear from Minister Holder.

“It has been a long time now, and we haven’t heard a single word from Minister Holder nor has the President said anything back to us on this matter,” Narine said as the estimated 200 sugar workers from the Albion, Blairmont and Uitvulgt estates held a banner accusing the government of discriminating against them since it came to power in 2015.

Last weekend, Granger, who is campaigning for the March 2 regional and general election, said former GuySuCo workers would be given an opportunity to own state-lands as he announced the establishment of a State Land Resettlement Commission.