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By Leonard GildarieAs its Aroaima, Berbice operations remain closed due to strike action, the Bauxite Company of Guyana Inc. (BCGI), has announced that it may close operations permanently.In a strongly worded statement issued yesterday by Sergey Kostyuk, General Manager of BCGI,Cheap Nike Football Jerseys, the company lashed out at the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers’ Union (GBWU), questioning “the wisdom of negotiating agreements which are promptly breached at the convenience of this union. It also questions whether it can continue to deal with a union which breaks solemn commitments whenever they are inconvenient,Jerseys Wholesale, and whose officials seem activated by malice towards the company as they engage in total untruths and distortions wherever possible, which are extremely harmful to the company. BCGI may therefore have no option but to close its operations permanently.”The statement of BCGI, owned by Russian aluminum giant, Rusal, comes shortly after Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, urged that the company and union work out its differences. Luncheon had also noted that government was concerned with workers retaining their jobs.The Ministry of Labour has since stepped in with Minister Manzoor Nadir strongly criticising the union for reportedly accepting that 75 workers are to be sent home from the mining company as part of a deal.According to the company, work has completely stopped at Aroaima, and a vessel which was coming to collect bauxite had to be diverted to Brazil.“BCGI’s management is deeply disappointed at the manifested bad faith of the GBWU in negotiating the CLA (Collective Labour Agreement), and then repeatedly refusing to adhere to it. The company is examining its options and may not resume operations.”The statement noted that aluminum prices have taken a battering over the past 18 months on world markets. In Jamaica, where the company’s parent Rusal also has operations, plants have been completely closed, throwing thousands of persons out of work.“Management is focused on preservation of the enterprise and the jobs it provides. This has become increasingly challenging in the present world economic climate. The GBWU had demanded an increase of 40% retroactive to January 2009. The company declined as it could ill afford increases.”However, BCGI said in an attempt to be constructive and find solutions, it offered three alternatives of which the Union chose the first. The offer included a retroactive 10% increase with a reduction of the workforce of approximately 14% or 75 persons; a retroactive 10% increase, with a reduction of the shift-hours from 12 to 8 hours per day; or a lump sum payment of the annual Safety-Bonus tax by 31 December 2009.“However, the Union’s General Secretary dishonestly misrepresented this choice to its members and the media, falsely asserting that the company had chosen it.”Explaining, BCGI said that the mining operations at Aroaima,Nike Air Max Sko Herre, Berbice River, have been historically unionised with the present recognised bargaining agent being GBWU and a CLA in place.On March 30, 2009, the workers struck to protest the termination of a fellow employee by BCGI. “Article 46 of the CLA prohibits strikes and instead makes provisions for alternative dispute resolution sponsored by the Ministry of Labour. However, the GBWU’s General Secretary Leslie Gonsalves refused to acknowledge that this Article made strike action unlawful as a breach of the CLA, and instead hollowly insisted that it had no application.”According to the company,Wholesale Jerseys China, on March 31, 2009, following discussions with the GBWU,Fjallraven Kanken Backpack Cheap, terms of resumption were settled and work was resumed.Listing other instances of GBWU breaching the CLA by taking strike actions earlier this year, BCGI said that it has been engaged in discussions with the union following a demand for a 40% salary increase retroactive to January 2009.The GBWU by letter dated 13 November 2009 and signed by Gonsalves on behalf of the Union, chose the first option of “a retroactive 10% increase with a reduction of the workforce of approximately 14% or 75 persons. However, upon workers becoming angry, Gonsalves informed them and the media that the Union had never agreed to a reduction of the work-force, insisting that it had only agreed to the 10% increase.”This “deliberate misrepresentation” that BCGI had unilaterally taken a decision to reduce the work-force,Cheap Jerseys China, has caused the present strike, the statement said.“Yet again, BCGI has pleaded with the Union’s leadership to observe the provisions of the CLA and specifically Article 46, but these persons have declined to do so.”

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