The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) was today informed by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) that it approved certain pay increases to the sugar workers.

The Union confirmed this earlier today, during a meeting with GuySuCo officials.

In a statement, GAWU said that the Union was invited to the meeting one day after a large number of workers together with Union officials took part in a picketing exercise outside of the President’s office on Tuesday.

“While our Union, at this time, will refrain from disclosing the details as the GAWU and the workers are actively considering the company’s offer, at the same time, it demonstrates that it is only through struggle that the workers and the oppressed will be able to surmount their obstacles and score, even meagre gains from the Administration,” the Union noted.

GAWU added: “It has been a continuous struggle that has been waged since 2015 and one that saw workers, on many occasions, taking part in protest and picketing exercises outside of the sugar estates, the GuySuCo Head Office, the President’s office and the National Assembly along with those struggles workers as well as staged vigil activities to call attention to their plight and thousands of them also subscribed to a petition calling on President Granger to intervene positively in the matter. These are among the spirited activities that the sugar workers participated in and led as they sought to bring attention to their plight.”

The Union said that workers were “staunch” in their demand for a pay increase as they maintained that they were discriminated against. Apart from that, the workers further demonstrated how the pay freeze had pushed them and their families closer to the poverty line as they were crushed by the heavy cost-of-living. They had to find innovative means to make life’s ends meet as their nominal and real wages declined and their ever scarce dollars were not going as far as they previously could.

GAWU said that the offer comes less than a month away from when the workers and their families are expected to exercise their franchise, and when there are active attempts to woo their support after what they described as “years of assault after assault perpetuated against them”.

“While this does appear suspect, it nevertheless demonstrates too the principled-ness of the workers’ actions to be treated fairly and equitably and to live lives where they can afford the basic necessities of existence,” GAWU noted.


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