Al­bion tillage work­ers ask­ing for sus­tained pay­ments de­spite less work

Stabroek News Sunday - - LETTERS -

While say­ing that it is seek­ing to re­solve its on­go­ing dis­pute with Me­chan­i­cal Tillage Op­er­a­tors at the Al­bion Es­tate, in Ber­bice, the Guyana Sugar Cor­po­ra­tion Inc (GuySuCo) yes­ter­day ex­plained that its de­ci­sion to re­duce pay­ment for the fill­ing of drains was based on the de­crease in the scale of the work.

The work­ers at­tached to the me­chan­i­cal tillage gang at the es­tate went on strike last week over the de­lay by the cor­po­ra­tion in ad­dress­ing their con­cerns about the re­duced pay­ments.

The work­ers told Stabroek News that the es­tate’s man­age­ment re­duced the rates of pay for fill­ing of a four-foot drain from $225 a rod to $56 per rod dur­ing the first crop. They said the re­duc­tion to 25% of what they orig­i­nally re­ceived is too low.

GuySuCo, how­ever, ex­plained yes­ter­day in a state­ment that in some ar­eas, the “broad four-foot drains” were re­placed with nar­row drains that are far less in vol­ume. As a re­sult, it said man­age­ment sub­se­quently re-ex­am­ined the ac­tiv­ity and it was dis­cov­ered that the same rate for fill­ing the broad drain was be­ing paid to fill the nar­row drains.

GuySuCo also noted that that in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the union it de­ter­mined that the work­ers are only re­quired to fill a drain ap­prox­i­mately 20% the size of the “broad four-foot drains,” but a de­mand is still be­ing made for the orig­i­nal pay­ments.

It added that man­age­ment had jus­ti­fied its po­si­tion for an ap­pli­ca­ble rate for the re­duced ac­tiv­ity and the cor­po­ra­tion and the union have been en­gag­ing each other on this mat­ter through the es­tab­lished griev­ance pro­ce­dure.

“Af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion look­ing at all vari­ables, it was de­cided that drain fill­ing should be done well in ad­vance, mak­ing work ready for the me­chan­i­cal tillage op­er­a­tors, so that they can fo­cus more to en­hance pro­duc­tiv­ity and ef­fi­ciency on more core ac­tiv­i­ties, such as plough­ing, first and sec­ond har­row­ing at a time when op­por­tu­nity days for me­chan­i­cal tillage has re­duced by 64% over the last 16 years. This will re­sult in sig­nif­i­cant cost sav­ing where pay­ment is be­ing made for ac­tual work done or com­pleted,” it fur­ther said. The Al­bion Es­tate, GuySuCo pointed out, has so far achieved five (5) weekly pro­duc­tion in­cen­tives for the sec­ond crop through the valiant ef­forts of its em­ploy­ees, earn­ing them five ad­di­tional av­er­age days’ pay. “With the pre­vail­ing dry spell, the es­tate, in its re­main­ing ten weeks of op­er­a­tion, can at­tain ad­di­tional days’ pay un­hin­dered. One can only asked ques­tions about the mo­tives or in­ten­tions of those who are en­cour­ag­ing this group of em­ploy­ees with this ac­tion,” it said in ref­er­ence to the strik­ing work­ers.

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