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Is that such an outlandish desire?

first_imgDear Editor,Mr Winston Mars, in his letter that was published on December 5, 2019, in a section of the media, was critical of the recent protest actions by sugar workers. In expressing his criticism, Mr Mars contends that “…more than 60 per cent of its expenditure had to be apportioned to wages” and against that background sugar workers should not get any pay rise. It appears to us that the letter writer is a stranger to the industry. Certainly, was he knowledgeable, he would have known that in 2018, about 45 per cent of costs concerned employment. Of course, we should mention that expenditure included from the lowest to the highest-paid employees, it also concerned monies paid to the industry’s pensioners as well as monies expended on transportation, purchase of safety equipment, among other things.Mr Mars said that “…some middle ground has to be reached here quickly…” but in the very next breath said, “…the workers and their unions must be aware that the situation in the industry is not getting better but rather worse”. It appears that the middle ground spoken about is really a skewed attempt to say workers should swallow bitterly no improvement in pay though they do not control and direct the industry. It should be recollected that it was not the workers that secured a $30 billion bond. Certainly, it was not the workers that significantly stripped the industry of its assets and are selling them at a fire sale. Definitely, it was not the workers that stood by with arms folded and allowed a public escalation between the NICIL-SPU and the GuySuCo. Undoubtedly, it was not the workers that have caused the locking away of bond proceeds aimed at re-vitalising the industry. The fact is that the workers are the least responsible but the most affected.The sugar unions are next accused of making “…unreasonable demands… over the decades …”. It appears, in Mr Mars’ mind, that it was some cardinal sin to give sugar workers a pay rise. It was wrong to want them and their families to live a decent life. It was a crime for wanting them to be better able to cope with the cost of living. And, it appears, at least in the letter writer’s mind, that only certain persons must move up and others left behind.It is next said that the workers’ actions are influenced by the Opposition. This is most funny. The workers’ actions are influenced after they soberly consider their situation. In considering the situation, the workers would well recognise that they are unable to cope with the costs of contemporary life. They would be aware that their dollars are not going as far as they once did. They have the distressing and depressing situation of looking at their families and knowing that they cannot afford them a little treat or a special meal at Christmas time while they see others around them having a merry time. That, Mr Mars, is the mindset of the workers. They simply want to live happy and contented lives. They just want to work dedicatedly and receive decent earnings. Is that such an outlandish desire?Yours faithfully,Seepaul NarineGeneral Secretary,GAWUlast_img read more