200 female workers to be affected

first_img– massive protest, one-day strike for this morningEnmore Estate closureTwo weeks after the announced closure of the East Demerara (Enmore) Estate, more far-reaching consequences are being exposed. Ahead of a “massive” protest planned for the Estate’s factory this morning, Guyana Times was on Monday informed that some 200 female workers attached to the entity stood to be directly affected. This publication understands that at the Estate, some 40 women engage in weeding tasks while another 40 are part of the “creole gang”. It was disclosed that several women work as cleaners in the factory’s offices, while 17 are attached to the packaging plant. More alarming, it was further related that the majority of these women are married to cane cutters, which means that both parents of many households stand to be unemployed.These issues will be highlighted in this morning’s protest that workers have planned. It is expected that the wives and other family members of sugar workers will come out in their numbers to voice collective condemnation of the decision to close the Estate which was confirmed by Agriculture Minister Noel Holder when he presented Government’s white paper on the industry’s future on May 8.This publication has been told that workers and families in the East Coast Demerara communities of Buxton, Annandale, Cane Grove, Enmore, Success, Ogle, Lusignan, Enterprise, Foulis, Bare Root, Mahaica and Lusignan all stand to suffer from the imminent shutdown.An official attached to the East Demerara Estate disclosed that workers intend to engage in the massive one-day strike action. This may significantly alter the Estate’s optimum output, as it was also revealed that production for the current crop would miss the projected target. Uitvlugt Estate also missed its target earlier this year.When this newspaper had visited a group of community members at a small market at Enterprise, East Coast Demerara earlier this month, they highlighted their worry over the entity’s closure. In fact, a few sellers in the area had noted that community members had already began to reduce their spending, which mirrored the situation at Wales, West Bank Demerara last year when residents there had also reduced buying goods upon the announcement that the Wales Sugar Factory would be shut down.Mayaram Sundar, a harvester and father of two, had noted the hardships his family would face, saying that his son’s education may be held up if he could not find the means to support him. He had also suggested that severance pay was a temporary benefit.“If you say you will pay severance, how long will the severance last?” Sundar had questioned.“Tolly” (only name given), a greens and provisions vendor and mother of six, had stressed that she was already facing challenges.“I have six children to maintain and [buying and selling greens] is the only thing I does do here. I got children going to school; books very expensive and passage for them to go to school so I would like if the Estate could not close down,” she appealed.When the Agriculture Minister had presented the white paper on the future of the industry in Parliament, he had told the House by the end of 2017, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) will have three estates: Blairmont on the West Bank of Berbice, Albion-Rose Hall in East Berbice and the Uitvlugt-Wales Estate in West Demerara.“…the Enmore Factory will be closed at the end of 2017 when all cane would be harvested. The East Coast Estates would be earmarked for diversification,” the Minister had stated.Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) President Komal Chand had long contended that Government had not conducted any social impact studies before it had opted to close estates. The GAWU President reiterated this position on Monday. In December 2016, sugar operations ended at the Wales Estate.last_img read more