Several categories of workers, including Harvesters, cultivators, factory and workshop operators among others, held up placards and shouted “The EM must go!” ; “The EM must respect workers!”; “Workers’ contributions must be respected at all times!” and [President] “Donald, look at Blairmont!”.
The workers said that the Estate Manager has been using a “dictatorial” style of management and thus they have been shortchanged with regards to work conditions and payments.
Harvester Representative from Gang 62, S. Ragubeer, stated, “The estate manager lately come here and we used to have a lot of benefits before [he came] such as obstacle benefits in the harvesting fields, standby payments for firemen;, all them things he want to take away from people so we ain’t choose to work along with him.
“We want another estate manager or we will not get production going at this estate”.
He noted that the manager “never wants to hold any meeting with the reps to discuss anything.”
“The workers choose that they don’t want him and don’t want to discuss with him. They padlock the estate like a prison, and we don’t want to stay in prison, we are not prisoners…massa day done,” he said.
“We used to get $40 for obstacle payment and this estate manager now implemented $20”. Every time a worker encounters obstacles such as vines, bushes, etc, while cutting cane they were normally paid $40 per obstacle.
Vickram Singh, of the 6B2 Harvesting Gang said that “this estate manager is trying to de- recognize the union ad we are not going to allow that”.
“They locking all the gates and keeping workers inside and they have to get gate passes now, and the customer practice…they’re slashing the people’s payments”, he noted. “We’re not going to accept that; if they want to cut costs, let them cut costs from the top and come to the bottom,” he noted.
“GuySuCo provides a big house for the estate manager and yet everyday he drives from here to Buxton (where he resides) and burn about 50 gallons of gas per week. Who go pay for that? All that is cost! You cannot destroy money at the top level and get we here!”