Kwakwani residents block access road

first_imgResidents of Kwakwani, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) in disagreement with the dismissal of over 60 striking employees attached to the Russian Aluminium company, Rusal, on Tuesday blocked the access road in the community, which leads to the company located at Aroaima.Residents of Kwakwani, Region 10 on Tuesday blocked the main entrance to AroaimaInformation reaching Guyana Times indicates the residents and workers are dissatisfied with the outcome of meetings between the company’s officials and the Labour Department. On Tuesday, materials such as old tires and pieces of wood were placed across the roadway, as residents formed a human barricade.One resident told this publication that this was done to prevent other employees, including senior management, from getting to work by bus in an effort to have a major shutdown of the company.The residents have made calls for the community to stand firm in solidarity with the workers, noting that households and businesses will be affected as a result of the employees’ dismissal.Regional Vice Chairman Elroy Adolph noted that the affected employees feel discriminated against. He said other employees fear victimisation, with some remaining on the job for fear of being dismissed. He also refuted claims that the company is operating at a loss, saying that the entity recently scaled up its equipment-base to include larger barges and trucks and has scaled up production as a result.Meanwhile Police Commander of E Division (Linden-Kwakwani), Linden Lord noted that a 15-man Police team was dispatched to the community later on Tuesday to bring calm to the situation.Over 100 residents were said to have blocked off an area known as Station One, which is the main entry and exit to the Rusal company.Police Commander Lord noted that apart from the road, residents also blocked the river path leading to the company.CallsMeanwhile, Vice Chairman Adolph later joined calls for Government to intervene in the plight of over 60 workers attached to the Russian company, in light of their alleged dismissal over protests against a one per cent increase.Adolph in an interview with this publication on Monday noted that the increase granted by the company is a “gross insult” to the workers and is “totally unacceptable.”FITUGMeanwhile, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) also expressed its concern over the situation in a statement on Tuesday. According to the Union, the workers are within their rights to demand better pay and working conditions“The FITUG sees the high-handed approach by the BCGI as grossly disrespectful to our workers, our laws, and all Guyanese. The actions by BCGI are reminiscent of a similar act by another foreign-owned enterprise – Demerara Timbers Limited. That company in 2016 chose a similar route apparently to punish workers for taking part in a protest to demand improvements. The matter which reached the High Court came to an end when that company opted to settle the matter obviously recognising that it was in the breach.”FITUG made it clear that the right to collective bargaining and union representation was “won by the struggles of past generations of Guyanese and have now become a proud feature of life in Guyana. The naked and clear disrespect to these hard-fought rights cannot be condoned in any way, shape or form.”It went on to call on the Department of Labour, and the Government of Guyana, to resolve the situation and ensure that the workers’ rights are respected. FITUG also extended its solidarity with the workers, their families and their union.last_img