The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) is deeply concerned about the government’s approach to the sugar industry.

Just a few days ago, FITUG said it heard at the GAWU-organized sugar conference, the cries of pain and the stories of struggle of the now jobless labourers.

FITUG said, “It was painful and saddening to listen to those workers share what their lives have become since the jobs they worked at for years have been snatched away. We believe that the Government cannot and, in fact, should not ignore the plight that the workers, their families and their communities face. In months ahead we can very well be facing a humanitarian tragedy which we believe no one wants to occur.”

Given the aforementioned, FITUG wants to see a number of measures in budget 2019 which would help the nation’s ex-sugar workers.

The organization said it wants to see an income support mechanism to ensure families can meet their obligations and send their children to school, among other things. It has asked the government to introduce school bus services to transport all school-aged children from their homes to school and vice-versa; establish skills training programmes to allow former sugar workers to receive skills that are demanded by the labour market and matching them with available vacancies, and provide counseling and other required social programmes to assist in reducing depression and other social anxieties that have gripped the people.

Further to this, FITUG called on the Government to quickly address the appointment of the board for the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) recognizing that competent leadership is needed at this time.

It said, “We need also that a clear plan for the industry’s future to be shared with the public. Recently, we saw President David Granger informing that the Government has a clear perspective and that should be shared with the nation. The need for a motivated workforce cannot be underscored.”

In the last years, FITUG said that sugar workers’ real earnings have declined markedly. It said that there is a strong need for the Government, through the process of collective bargaining, award the workers a pay increase this year taking into account that they are the only group of workers within the State’s umbrella to have their wages frozen since the Administration took office.


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