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The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) said workers attached to the Guyana Manganese Inc (GMI) have complained about
“abominable” conditions-of-work at the company.
In a press release GAWU said it has learnt from the workers, that it appeared that the GMI was actively sidelining them in favour of foreigners. “They shared that many tasks being undertaken by foreigners could be done by locals but inexplicably they are denied such opportunities. They felt that it seemed the company was seeking for them to leave the employ. Additionally, the workers lamented the housing conditions and provision of meals for those who resided outside of the community. They pointed out that the foreigners enjoyed adequate housing and appropriate meals. Whereas in their case the situation left a lot to be desired,” GAWU said.
Additionally, GAWU said workers were upset by the attitude and demeanour of particular supervisors who treated them disdainfully. Moreover, they related that skilled employees were being asked to undertake tasks well below their skillset. “They said they found this demeaning especially considering extensive training they would have undergone. Workers indicated too that they have learnt that their statutory deductions were not being paid over to the relevant agencies. Moreover, we have learnt that other commitments to the workers and the community prior to the company’s establishment have simply ignored,” the union stated.
GAWU said it is disturbed by the treatment of the workers and the community. “Our union reiterates that all firms must respect workers rights and treat them with dignity. It is simply unbelievable that firms are seeking to benefit from our natural wealth yet fail to uphold even the basic rights of our workers, and people. Our union stands with the workers and is prepared to continue to champion their call for their rights to be upheld and for them to enjoy decent work. We encourage GMI workers to continue to engage us in order for to better understand their plight and be able to highlight the difficulties they are facing.”