(CMC) – The Guyana government says it will pay sugar workers the second half of the severance due to them.
President David Granger, on a visit to East Berbice Corentyne, said the “sugar workers are going to get their severance pay”.
“At the beginning of the year, we said one part will be paid in the first half and the second part in the second half of the year,” he said.
Granger added that “next week we are going to the National Assembly to pass supplementary provisions for payment in the second half”.
In February, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Paul Bhim, reported that up to that point, 1,400 ex-employees had received their full severance, with the remainder of them awaiting the remaining 50 percent.
About 3,700 employees were issued with severance letters and the government had approved the partial payment of the severance, but there was an adjustment made, and workers, due GUY$500,000, (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) or less, was paid in full.
“We are not going to deny sugar workers one dollar of their severance pay,” he said, adding that when his administration came to office, a decision was taken to reform the sugar industry since it was surviving on subsidies.
“We did not kill the sugar industry, we saved the sugar industry,” Granger said, adding that the main sugar factories – Albion in East Berbice Corentyne, Blairmont in West Berbice and Uitvlugt in West Demerara – were left in operation while those estates which were not profitable were closed down.
Granger has assured the government will work with the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and other unions “to make sure that the workers who cannot find employment on the estates are given a soft landing.
“We will try to find employment opportunities so that nobody has to suffer,” he said, adding that his administration would seek to ensure the survival of the sugar industry.
“As you can see from the papers, every day, every week, every month, we are looking for ways and means to borrow money to ensure that the Guyana Sugar Cooperation could remain efficient and produce sugar at a marketable price.”