Several employees of the Russian-owned Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc (BCGI) have been laid off. According to reports, effective today, 100 workers lost their jobs as a result of what the company describes as ‘fuel shortage.
The announcement is the latest crisis in relations between the company, a subsidiary of Rusal and workers which have been pinned by acrimony over wages and conditions. For several months, talks on wages have stalled and workers may see these layoffs as an attempt to pressure them. They were informed of the layoffs via notice that was posted outside of the company yesterday afternoon.
However, those laid off have been informed that they will be recalled as soon as the situation stabilizes. Sources at the company’s headquarters have confirmed the layoffs but could not give the precise number of employees that were affected. It is unclear why fuel supply would be an issue.
Some months ago, disgruntled workers of the company blocked the Berbice River in dispute over wages, preventing the company’s barges from transporting bauxite. The company then fired 90 workers following the initiation of strike action with 60 workers being dismissed initially and an additional 30 being sacked in the ensuing days.
The workers had a meeting with the Department of Labour on the matter but this arrangement bore no fruit. The union, the GBGWU pointed out that talks have been stalled for over two months as the Ministry of Social Protection’s Labour Department has failed to facilitate it.
Contributed by HE Prof Colin O Jarrett
Director of News and Current Affairs