“It’s not too late to reconsider” – workers

first_imgRose Hall Estate closureWorkers attached to the Rose Hall Sugar Estate in East Berbice have, in a bid to save their livelihoods, said it is not too late for Government to reconsider closing the estate at the end of the crop.The workers addressed the media on Wednesday at a press conference organized by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) at the union’s New Amsterdam office.Reading a prepared speech, Glen McCloud, one of the workers’ representatives, declared the workers were hopeful that there would have been a relook at the intention, recognizing the obvious hardship that would result from the estate’s closure.Some Rose Hall Estate workersEver since announcement of the estate’s imminent closure, the workers, backed by the unions GAWU and NAACIE, have taken to the streets in several protest demonstrations to signal to Government the negative impact that closure would have on workers and the economy as a whole.However Government, three weeks ago, said it was a done deal, and that it would proceed with the closure.“For us of Rose Hall, closure can be seen as a death knell for so many hardworking people and their families. For us of Rose Hall, closure means that our plans for life, our dreams for a better tomorrow, and our aspirations for our children and grandchildren have all but been dashed. For us of Rose Hall, closure will bring about uncertain times and many difficult, misery-filled days ahead. For us of Rose Hall, closure can be seen as a death knell for so many hardworking people and their families.”Another worker pointed out that for families of Rose Hall, the closure means that their life plans, dreams for a better tomorrow, and aspirations for their children and grandchildren have all but been dashed.“For us of Rose Hall, closure will bring about uncertain times and many difficult, misery-filled days ahead.“For us of Rose Hall, closure brings about real questions, like where would our next meal come from? How would our children and grandchildren go to school? And how would we earn and meet our obligations?“For us of Rose Hall, closure means difficult choices have to be made. Would we eat, or would we pay the electricity bills? Would we send the children to school, or would we buy clothes? Would we starve, or do we have to do something not necessarily right to put food on the table.”According to the workers, they were hoping that decision-makers, recognising the difficulties which now face the people of Wales, would have harboured second thoughts.“Rose Hall’s closure brings about real questions, like where would our next meal come from? How would (our) children and grandchildren go to school? And how would (we) earn in order to meet the obligations, which include electricity and water bills?” the worker said.Meanwhile, three weeks ago, GuySuCo announced plans to retrench 2,500 workers by the end of this year.GAWU said the downsizing and subsequent closure of sugar estates would lead to the loss of more than 15,000 jobs and the potential threat of poverty for between 50,000 and 100,000 people.Responding to reporters, McCloud said the Government has made no provision for the workers who will be sent home.He said there is nothing that they can believe, since they have been told several different stories of plans for displaced estate workers, including that they will be absorbed in the NDIA drainage crew.Inderjeet Bhopaud, another workers’ representative, told reporters that in East Canje, the economy has almost come to a standstill, even though everyone is still on the job and receiving their wages.The workers are calling on the Government to put in place competent persons to manage its resources, claiming that the sugar company is currently headed by persons who have a vendetta against sugar workers, who were instrumental in those persons’ dismissal before they were rehired under the current administration. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img

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