The protest actions by workers of the Uitvlugt sugar estate factory continued this morning, May 28, 2020, as the workers remain staunch in their request that appropriate measures be embraced to promote social distancing while ensuring their hours-of-work remained outside the national curfew period.
The workers, who continued their protest actions were today confronted by a contingent of police officers who instructed them to end their activity.
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), in a press release said, “We find this development to be most disturbing as it seems attempts are being made to trample on the rights of the workers. While we are unsure of how the police arrived at the scene, the workers were most upset that their peaceful activity was abruptly and forcibly terminated.”
GAWU said in recent times it has seen an enhanced police presence at protest activities involving sugar workers and it cannot ignore that a certain trend is re-emerging.
We certainly hope that security services are not being utilized to minimize workers voices as they seek to have their rights and gains respected, GAWU added.
The police presence followed a meeting between the Union and the Uitvlugt estate management earlier today.
At the engagement, the GuySuCo remained adamant that the workers affected be organized in two (2) shifts though the second shift would conclude into the curfew period.
It appeared that the workers and Union’s concerns regarding the difficulties the workers faced on their return home during the curfew period have been ignored or do not attract the Corporation’s concern.
According to GAWU, bearing in mind that other sections of the workforce are already enjoying similar work arrangements, the workers affected would also be treated equitably as they merely seek to protect themselves and families from the dreaded COVID-19 virus. It seems this not to be the case.
The GAWU reiterates, once again, its call for better sense to prevail and for an amicable and workable arrangement to be arrived at. We believe that sober and sincere consideration of the workers’ views should be pursued and recognition paid to the harm they can well face at this time.
“Our surmounting of this difficult period can only come through our collective actions to take protective and preventative actions to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and it is against such a background the workers’ call should be respected.”