Sugar workers in Guyana call off strike; officials optimistic of reaching target

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday November 27, 2015 – Industrial action called by the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) has officially ended, giving authorities hope that the country will meet its 2015 sugar production target.

Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Errol Hanoman said all workers will be back on the job by this weekend, a week after they began strike action over Annual Production Incentive (API) pay.

GuySuCo is offering 2.7 days API, to paid by March 2016, but GAWU says the sugar workers should earn approximately 6.13 days pay, saying that between 1989 and 2013 the lowest incentive was five days’ pay.

The 2015 sugar production target is set at 227,443 tonnes. Current sugar production stands at 215,061 tonnes, which means just over 12,000 tonnes is needed to meet this year’s goal. Hanoman said, it could be achieved.

“And once the weather and other circumstances permit, close to 6,000 tonnes could be added to the final production target. As of [yesterday], production stood at 133,918 tonnes for the second crop. The last time GuySuCo achieved a second crop target was in 2004,” a government statement said.

Officials say had it not been for a previous three-day strike in October, the production target would have been achieved this week, based on GuySuCo’s calculations.

Hanoman explained that once there is full resumption of work and production restarts, the sugar company would resume dialogue with GAWU.

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