Hon. Minister Mr. Manzoor Nadir
Minister of Labour, Human Services and Social Security
1Water & Cornhill Streets
Re: Upholding Section 23.(1) of the Trade Union Recognition Act 98:07, respecting workers’ rights Please refer to the caption.
The Union acknowledges receipt of your letter dated December 30, 2010 to Mr. Ruslan Volokhov, General Manager, RUSAL/ Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc., and is encouraged to note that you are “unprepared to tolerate from RUSAL any further disrespect to our Laws, workers and people.”
It is hoped that this marks a new beginning in industrial relations between the Ministry of Labour, GB&GWU and BCGI, and moreso bringing a resolution to the 13-month old impasse.
The Union has been advised of a meeting with the company under the chairmanship of the Ministry to be held on Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 10: 00 hrs. I take this opportunity to advise that the union will be there.
As you are aware the failure to resolve this matter has not only denied the workers their rights to work, freedom of association and collective bargaining but also adversely impacted their families and most importantly their children whose sad eyes they have had to look into every day, for more than a year, and say: “sorry, I cannot afford it.” The nation has been apprised via Stabroek News (November 22) of the survival stories of three fired workers, namely: Wayne Coppin, Monty Glasgow and Lennox Williams, their wives and 12 children, one of whom recounted it has been, “A year of pressure… try hustling a dollar here and there. It has not been easy not working and having a wife and children.” His story reflects the numerous stories heard every day on the ground from the other 61 fired workers. Parents have been as their wits end to manage their domestic needs, provide their children with balanced meals, equip them with requisite schools supplies and presently ensure they celebrate the Saviour’s Birth consistent with their traditions.
It is therefore fair to admit that 2009 and 2010 have taken a tremendous toll on these workers, their families and communities; conditions of life imposed on them not of their making. Ours is the wish,
on behalf of the workers, that December 31, 2010 marks the end of imposed sufferings and denial of their rights.
While the Union is aware the struggle is not over, it looks forward to meaningful future relations with the ministry built on the respect for our laws, workers and the people of Guyana.