The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and its almost 375 members of the recently closed Diamond Estate are delighted that the seventeen (17) month Severance Pay dispute is resolved at last.
The Union’s relentless representation to the Corporation, its representation to the Ministry of Labour and its resort to lawsuit to ensure that the workers are not denied their right to Severance Pay has at last borne reward. The workers everlasting vigil contributed significantly to the resolution of the matter.
The Corporation, in its Turnaround Plan, which was conceived without an iota of input from the two (2) sugar unions and released in April, 2009, out of the blue, disclosed that the Diamond cultivation would be gotten rid and the land would be put on sale for the sum of G$30.6B (US$153M). The jobs of the workers at Diamond Estate consequently became redundant a few months later.
The Union held steadfastly that the redundant workers are legally entitled to Severance Pay in reference to Section 21(4)(b) of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act since the new work location – LBI Estate – is more than 10 miles from the Diamond location.
GAWU, in the light of the resolution of the dispute is to advise its Attorney-at-Law to withdraw the lawsuit since its validity is no longer relevant.
The Union wishes to record its satisfaction with the intervention of President Bharrat Jagdeo who made the resolution of the dispute at this time possible rather than to await what might have been a long delay in addressing the matter by the Court. It would have been more favourable if the President had intervened much earlier when the workers were initially ordered by the Corporation to take up work at LBI Estate.
A source in Guysuco indicated that the severance pay to workers is to be completed in early June.