Guyana: Natural resources minister visits striking bauxite workers, calls for end to standoff

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Guyana: Natural resources minister visits striking bauxite workers, calls for end to standoff

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Mar. 10, CMC — Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman has called on the labour ministry and the management of Rusal — the Russian-managed bauxite company — to work towards ending the standoff as workers remain on strike for the third week.

Production at the bauxite company has been suspended as the workers continue to block the river preventing barges from accessing the company for bauxite shipments.

The standoff is ongoing as the company has refused to rehire 61 workers it dismissed as they went on strike to protest a one per cent increase in salaries.

The government and several trade unions have been urging the company to rehire the workers. However, the company has been making some demands of its own and has not been budging from its position, effectively suspending operations.

During a meeting on Saturday, the workers expressed their dissatisfaction with the way the company has been treating them and ignoring their concerns with working conditions for years.

During his meeting, Trotman said the situation is hurting families, hurting workers and also hurting Guyana’s economy.

“If the relationship is so fractured, perhaps it is time we look elsewhere. We can’t have workers crying out like this, they are Guyanese. I met fathers, I met mothers, I met persons who haven’t seen their families in over a month, and it is heart-rending and I believe something has to be done,” Trotman said.

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