Sugar Worker in Guyana May be Reinstated to Job after Arbitration Ordered
A court in Guyana has ruled that the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) and the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU) must enter a second round of arbitration proceedings in order to effect a resolution regarding the termination of a worker at the Skeldon Estate. A prior arbitration ruling upheld the worker’s firing.
The worker is accused of physically assaulting his superior on the dock where he was employed, and he was dismissed the next day. The union took up his case, formally requesting a hearing and that he be reinstated with back pay, which Guyana Sugar refused to do. The dismissal sparked weeks of demonstrations, strikes, and power outages that resulted from the work actions.
The union filed a lawsuit, which was referred to arbitration, which found in favor of Guyana Sugar despite stating that the arbitrator could not determine if the dismissal was justified. These and other inconsistencies with the arbitrator’s report further confused the matter, and the union filed an appeal which has resulted in a second round of arbitration being ordered. The union is seeking a suspension for the worker instead of dismissal, although it does not acknowledge that the physical assault – reportedly a slap – actually occurred.
Many in Guyana feel the union is using the power plant – operated by union members – as a weapon to force its view, as the ongoing strife continues to affect the electrical grid in that country, causing chaos and disruption