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The Guyana Water Authority (GWI) is planning to lay off more than 300 workers. This is 300 plus families that will be economically disadvantaged in an economy that is suffering the adverse impact of the pandemic and has a 15.6 percent unemployment, at its most conservative. Even to the casual observer this decision will have a ripple effect in the communities these workers reside. Or better said, according to the government’s take on sugar workers who were laid off, the decision would impact the socio-economic wellbeing of these workers and their communities.
According to Mr. Shaik Baksh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the decision is part of the company’s plan to rationalise its workforce and that the current staffing complement is 400 plus more than when the People’s Progressive Party/Civic lost the 2015 Election. To accept this argument is to accept that the government is desirous of returning Guyana to the employment component they had or to remove those from employment that were hired during the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change coalition government.
The reasoning also suggests that the CEO may be ignoring the expansion and modernisation of GWI during the time of the coalition government that may have required hiring more workers. It is not sufficient for Mr. Baksh to present such an argument without the benefit of proper analysis, including what is mentioned above. Mr. Baksh is also saying that the recommendation for termination came from a review done on the company’s operations and financial position. This review should be made public for Guyanese to assess its veracity.
It is not sufficient to say that because last year the company was almost on the verge of financial collapse with more than $1billion lost , it is justification eight months after to terminate more than 300 workers. What was/were responsible for the alleged loss needs to be made public. It is noteworthy that the 300 plus staff are presently employed even as Mr. Baksh boasts that since his return as CEO the company has moved to a surplus. GWI’s reasoning and logics at this stage are proving to be very deficient.