…presented with their Trade Union Certificate of RecognitionThe Guyana Goldfields Incorporated has finally recognised the National Mine Workers Union (NMWU) as the official union representative for their workers, after the organisation was accredited with the relevant certification last week.Aurora Gold MineOn Monday, the company informed that they were in receipt of a certificate from the Trade Union Recognition and Certification Board, identifying the NMWU as the ‘majority union’ for workers under their subsidiary, Aurora Gold Mine (AGM).It further stated that the Union will represent employees below the supervisory level and the company is working to abide to all stipulated regulations.“The NMWU is the bargaining unit that will represent AGM employees below the level of supervisor. As stated previously, the company is actively adhering to applicable laws and regulations and is facilitating communication with relevant authorities,” Guyana Goldfields said.The certificate which was seen by this publication, was issued on September 4, 2019 after being signed by Chief Labour Officer Charles Ogle. It stated that the Union has the authority to represent the workers, effective of August 20, 2019.NMWU had secured 52 per cent of the votes in a survey conducted by the Labour Department back in August. One of the workers had informed Guyana Times that they supported the Union after it had been backing their struggles since 2015. Many were happy since this achievement provided a voice to negotiate demands for better working conditions.President of the Union, Sherwayne Downer later expressed that they would continue their strides to advocate for miners’ rights. This development, he noted, was a victory for the AGM workers.“It is a victory for the workers of AGM. As President of the Union, I vow to go above and beyond to ensure that those employees, who would have trusted and placed confidence in us, will be on the receiving end of the highest level of effective representation”.In July, over 200 workers had downed their tools and initiated strike actions for two days after calls mounted for them to be officially represented by a union and to improve working conditions and wages.During the strike, the workers had claimed that they were threatened with having their internet connection disconnected— which is vital to ensure communication from their Cuyuni-Mazaruni location to the coast. They were also demanding better wages, better quality food and laundry services, out of town allowance, missing NIS contributions among others.Three days later, the Canadian-based company indicated that persons were returning to work on a phased approach and it is anticipated that full production will resume shortly. Three days without production has resulted in an estimated 22,500 ounces of unprocessed ore.A letter was then issued to employees, granting the second quarterly bonus of 7.6 per cent on July 25, while promising that the formula for the next bonus will be reviewed. However, most of these promises were yet to be fulfilled after weeks had elapsed and some miners had threatened to initiate strike actions once more.
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