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|The High Court on Thursday, August 11, 2022 ruled the new poll, at the state-owned MARDS Rice Milling Complex, Burma Facility, authorised by the Trade Union Recognition Certification Board (TURB) be suspended until determination of the Fixed Date Application.
The Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU), the industrial arm of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, is seeking to get bargaining rights for the workers represented by the Union of Agricultural Allied Workers (UAAW). The AAWU is being represented by Attorney-at-law, Roysdale Forde SC.
Since last year GAWU has been moving to displace UAAW. Village Voice has been informed the effort has been given tacit support by the Recognition Board which is chaired by Dr. Nanda Gopaul. GAWU President Seepaul Narine is a member of the Board.
Last year the Board terminated the Recognition of the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GB&GWU) as bargaining agent for workers employed by Cyril Taxi Service which is providing transportation for ExxonMobil and other oil companies. GB&GWU challenged the Board’s decision and requested to be apprised of the section in the law that grants such authority. The Board has failed to provide the requested information but did inform the Union the de-recognition was a unanimous decision of its members.
Collaboration between the Board and GAWU to challenge UAAW contravenes normal recognition practices. The normal procedure is for the Board to conduct a survey to determine which union has the majority of support. If the Board finds the incumbent union has 60 per cent of workers paying dues, then the challenge by the union desirous of acquiring the bargaining unit falls. The Board has been deviating from established guidelines.
The High Court, in May, ruled that the first poll conducted by the TURB was invalid. The Court found the survey that the Board claimed it conducted was inconsistent with the Trade Union Recognition Act. GAWU has appealed the decision. However, even as the appeal awaits the determination of the Court, GAWU has been visiting Burma and is being given unfettered access to have meetings and recruit workers into their union. There are allegations that GAWU’s presence is facilitated by the management and some managers are soliciting membership for GAWU. These actions are in contravention of the Recognition Act.
The Court will hear the Fixed Date Application on 21st September 2022.