…workers picket for pay increase Following the prolonged stalemate over wage negotiations and allegations of unjust treatment to its workers, calls are being made for the Labour Department of the Social Protection Ministry to take legal action against the Demerara Timber Company (DTL) over labour violations.The disgruntled workers, along with their union representative – the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) – staged a picketing on Monday outside of the company’s headquarters in Kingston, Georgetown, in a desperate attempt to call attention to their struggles and shove management into action in relation to their demands for pay increases.GAWU’s General Secretary, Seepaul Narine, on the sidelines of the protest, told Guyana Times that the timber company must be prosecuted by Government over its continued disrespect for Guyanese employees.DTL workers protest for wage increases“What we believe needs to be done now is the Ministry needs to prosecute them because they are in clear violation of the law and not only violating the law to the detriment of the employees, but a flagrant disrespect to the ministry. I don’t think that the ministry should continue to accept such a situation,” he proclaimed.A handful of workers journeyed from Mabura Hill in Region Ten (Upper Demerara-Berbice) to call on the DTL to engage with their union to conclude its 2015 pay increase negotiations and commence talks for 2016.They complained of being abused by management and earning a paltry salary incommensurate to the cost of living in the country.“The money can’t do. We have our families to look after and transportation cost alone is expensive,” expressed Derrick Toney, one of the employees.The workers, with placards in hand, also called for the removal of the company’s General Manager, Martin Ting, whom they said has done absolutely nothing to protect the interest of his employees.Bilateral negotiations between the Union and the Company reached a stalemate on November 17, 2015 after the Company did not approve any pay increase, but offered a Christmas Bonus of $5000 to each worker. DTL informed that its financial state precluded it from offering a pay rise.Following the impasse, the dispute was next subjected to conciliatory services by the Ministry of Social Protection, Department of Labour.According to GAWU, though a few meetings were held, the company remains unwilling to divulge its financial statements for scrutiny by stakeholders.The workers have therefore grown impatient over the treatment by management and the slow pace of the wage negotiations.They are calling on DTL to return to the bargaining table and favourably resolve the matter since they are committed to continue the protests until their demands are addressed.
Union wants legal action against DTL over labour violations