Guyana: GAWU accepts 8.5% sugar wage hike

Stabroek News
Thursday, October 4th 2007
It’s final. Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) members have accepted the 8.5% wage increase proposed by Chief Labour Officer Mohamed Akeel on September 26 and agreed to by the Guyana Sugar Corporation.
And GAWU is calling for an immediate adjustment of the income tax threshold to complement the 8.5% wage increase.
GAWU President Komal Chand told Stabroek News that during the final meeting yesterday between the union and the corporation, chaired by Akeel, the union noted that a report compiled by all 47 delegates and representatives from the estates agreed to accept the offer proposed by Akeel.
The delegates, Chand said, took into consideration that the next stage might be industrial action, followed by arbitration and they were uncertain as to the outcome of the arbitration process. The union last week had lowered its demand from 12% to 10%.
Chand admitted as well that the union took into consideration the ability of the corporation to pay the increase asked for by the union in light of the sugar price cuts by the European Union and the recent announcement that the Sugar Protocol that guaranteed prices for sugar exported to Europe has been scrapped by the European Commission.
The union feels, according to the GAWU president, that an “immediate adjustment to the (income tax) threshold to bring relief to all workers in the country (would)…mitigate the cost of living.”
Should the government agree to the adjustment in the threshold, he said, this would complement the 8.5% wage increase that the sugar workers have accepted.
Akeel began chairing meetings for the wage negotiations on September 13, after a two-day strike on September 11-12 by GAWU over a 3% offer that was below the 12% they were asking for.
See also: Guyana: GAWU to put 6.5% pay hike offer to members

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