…says it will lobby for sector to remain openBy Samuel SukhnandanThe International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) has expressed deep concern over the closure of several sugar estates and the impact on the local industry.IUF General Secretary Sue Longley, who is in Guyana for an official visit and a workshop, told Guyana Times on Thursday that her organisation has been paying keen attention to the developments.“We have been following this closely for some time. We’ve worked historically in sugar to improve working conditions with a view to having a stronger and healthy sugar sector in the Caribbean,” she said.The IUF official noted that it has been a concern for her organisation with the changes taking place in the Caribbean regarding sugar, starting with St Kitts and Barbados. “We were hoping that remaining producers like Guyana would remain very much committed to the industry,” she added.Longley stated that the IUF has been receiving regular updates on the developments within the local Guyanese sugar industry from affiliate trade unions like the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE).“Sugar is important in Guyana and we were hoping maybe against general investment patterns that Guyana would be able to maintain a strong and vibrant sugar sector,” she explained.Enmore Estate“So, we remain very worried about the developments and we are committed to working with our affiliates here so that workers are treated well if closure has to take place. And we will also be lobbying to make sure that there is a sugar sector going forward,” the IUF official added.Asked to comment on the manner in which the retrenchment has happened so far, Longley said, “Like we’ve heard, it’s not just figures on paper, but there is a very human impact or cost on those retrenchments. And we take note of the suicides that have taken place.”On that note, she said if retrenchment has to be done, then it must be done fairly in negotiation with the unions. “There should be fair treatment and recognition of what those workers contributed to the economy and in particular. I think it is important that these retrenchments take place in transparent and open discussions and those settlements are negotiated with the unions that represent those workers.”VisitsMeanwhile, GAWU President Komal Chand told this publication that Longley and a team from the Caribbean grouping of the IUF would be visiting affected sugar workers in several parts of the country. He said the visits would help these union officials to have an understanding of the impact workers faced.“Our main concern right now is to strengthen our solidarity to get more support. We cannot alone be able to win this fight and challenges. And these are some real challenges and issues that threaten our workers’ right to employment and to be able to provide for their families,” he stated.Many civil society bodies and other interest groups have been urging the coalition Government to rethink the closure of estates and to implement plans that would tackle the welfare of workers.In its end-of-year statement, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) highlighted that come 2018, there would, in fact, be 5000 sugar workers who would be left unemployed if Wales was factored into the current numbers. The body is of the view that this action will have “serious repercussions” this year.In November, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) announced plans to retrench thousands of workers, which it did. GAWU says the downsizing and subsequent closure of sugar estates would lead to the loss of more than 15,000 jobs, and the potential threat of poverty for 50,000 to 100,000 people.In May 2017, Government announced plans to close the Enmore and Rose Hall Sugar Estates, sell the Skeldon Sugar Factory, reduce the annual production of sugar, and take on the responsibility of managing the drainage and irrigation services offered by GuySuCo.The Special Purpose Unit, which forms part of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), has been mandated to conduct evaluations, surveys and inventory assessments before any steps are taken to actually sell the estates. The SPU has since solicited the assistance of an international financial company to undertake these assessments as part of the plans to downsize the industry.
27 May 2015A motivated Junior Springbok squad flew out of Cape Town to Italy yesterday where they will compete in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship.The South Africans are among the firm favourites in the tournament after coming so close to beating England in a pulsating final last June in Auckland, New Zealand.The set off for this year’s instalment of the tough under-20 championship buoyed by a good 2-0 away series victory over Argentina.A fit and well-conditioned squad of 28 players, they will attempt to become only the second South African team to lift the U20 championship crown, and follow in the footsteps of the triumphant side of 2012.On Tuesday, the team completed their home preparations for the three-week long competition with a strenuous workout in Stellenbosch, before attending the traditional capping ceremony later in the evening.Apart from the trials, the squad’s training camp of six weeks included two training matches against the Western Province Rugby Institute, a thrilling successful clash against a star-studded Varsity Cup Dream Team plus an away series against the formidable Los Pumitas.Coach Dawie Theron said the squad were excited and looking forward to getting to Italy after the long and intensive training camp.“The boys are rearing to go and we have a great team spirit,” said Theron. “They are in a very good conditioning shape and I am pleased with the amount of work we have done at our training base in Stellenbosch.”The added it was important to approach the tournament in a good, positive mind- set. According to him, the tour to Argentina played a huge part in their mental preparation for the annual showpiece.“We simulated our training and travelling activities according to our Italy tournament programme, so that we can ensure all of them have a proper understanding of the rigorous time that await them in Italy.“This is a well-balanced squad, with powerful forwards and really quick backs, so the coaching staff are really looking forward to seeing them play against quality opposition. We go there with high expectations but fully aware that we will have to work extremely hard during a very competitive tournament,” said Theron.The South Africans open their fixture list on Tuesday, 2 June when they will be in action against hosts Italy in the Stadio San Michele in Calvisano. Next up is Samoa on Saturday, 6 June in Parma before they return to Calvisano for their last Pool B match against Australia. The playoffs are scheduled for 15 and 20 June.The Junior Bok forwards for the championship are:Hyron Andrews (Sharks)Rikus Bothma (Western Province)Dan du Preez (Sharks)Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks)Thomas du Toit (Sharks)Joseph Dweba (Free State Cheetahs)Njabulo Gumede (Blue Bulls)Jason Jenkins (Blue Bulls)Hanro Liebenberg (Blue Bulls – captain)Mzamo Majola (Sharks)Ox Nche (Free State Cheetahs)Abongile Nonkontwana (Blue Bulls)RG Snyman (Blue Bulls)Jan van der Merwe (Blue Bulls)Frans van Wyk (Western Province)Jacques Vermeulen (Western Province)The Junior Bok backs for the championship are:Tinus de Beer (Blue Bulls)Daniel du Plessis (Western Province)Warrick Gelant (Blue Bulls)Grant Hermanus (Western Province)JT Jackson (Blue Bulls)Malcolm Jaer (EP Kings)Marco Jansen van Vuren (Golden Lions)Khanyo Ngcukana (Western Province)Brandon Thomson (Western Province)Ivan van Zyl (Blue Bulls)EW Viljoen (Western Province)Leolin Zas (Western Province)Source: News24Wire
Phagu Chauhan was on Monday sworn in as the 40th Governor of Bihar, an official said. The 71-year-old Mr. Chauhan succeeded Lalji Tandon, who is now the Governor of Madhya Pradesh. He was administered the oath by Patna High Court Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi at a programme held at Raj Bhawan here in the presence of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi, besides several ministers.Mr. Chauhan, a six-time MLA from Ghosi Assembly constituency in Uttar Pradesh’s Mau district, had resigned from the UP Assembly on Friday. After having won the Assembly election for the first time in 1985 on a Dalit Mazdoor Kisan Party (DMKP) symbol, he returned as an MLA again in 1991 on a Janata Dal ticket. He won the seat in 1996 and 2002 on the BJP symbol.Mr. Chauhan again won Ghosi in May 2007 on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket but later returned to the saffron party and won the Assembly election for the sixth time in March 2017.
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