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By Leonard GildarieWorkers of the Skeldon sugar factory yesterday took strike action after four employees were dismissed following a fire at the multi-million-dollar facility two Saturdays ago.Calling for the workers to return to work with harvesting under full swing,Cheap NFL Jerseys, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) yesterday said that gross negligence resulted in the fire not being detected early, and it is estimated that millions of dollars will now have to be spent to repair the damage.A total of nine employees were disciplined over the fire and there are questions now as to how staffers who were supposed to be on duty did not see the flames until hours later.In addition to two senior employees being interdicted from duty, GuySuCo said another two junior workers were disciplined – one dismissed and the other suspended. Two non-managerial employees were also suspended, with three of them dismissed.According to the Corporation, on Saturday August 7, a fire in the Skeldon factory resulted in extensive damage to the bagasse conveyor belt.GuySuCo, in pointing out that the incident occurred on the same day the estate was slated to commence its second crop production for the year, disclosed that based on the extent of the damage, it is clear that the blaze actually started much earlier than the time it was first reported -three hours earlier.“A full investigation was conducted which revealed that the incident resulted because of gross negligence, caused extensive damage where remedial work will cost millions of dollars, coupled with the loss of three days’ production.”Following the investigation, GuySuCo said it took disciplinary action against employees, both managerial and non-managerial.Yesterday, however, factory workers decided to strike against the decision to dismiss their colleagues.According to Komal Chand, President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU), his union’s Field Secretary is talking to the factory workers to return to duty since management of the Skeldon estate is “unwilling” to “talk” while there is a strike.Not all of the employees who were disciplined are part of GAWU.According to GuySuCo yesterday,Brian Campbell Jersey, the strike action by the factory workers is at a most inopportune time, when there is a very large crop – 480,000 tonnes of cane – to be harvested “which has already been affected by poor weather and a 2nd crop production target of 34,000 tonnes of sugar for the Skeldon factory.”“Management respects the procedure of engaging workers in keeping with the established principles of the grievance procedure and as such management is willing to do same, providing that there is a resumption of work.”The Corporation noted that there are over 650 punts of cane ready to be crushed, which will yield approximately 4,000 tonnes of sugar.“The Corporation once again reaffirms its call for workers to ensure they seek to solve their concerns through dialogue with officials before resorting to strike action,NFL Jerseys Cheap, so as to ensure that critical opportunity days for harvesting and production are not lost, more so because of the current weather pattern and the significant amount of canes to be harvested across the industry.”With the sugar industry still in a precarious state because of low prices and poor production, the fire and now the strike are things that GuySuCo could ill-afford now.Already, GuySuCo had revised its target for the year from 280,000 tonnes of sugar to just over 260,NFL Jerseys Supply,000 tonnes.Diamond labourer laid to restThirty eight year old Alvin Kissoon,Cheap Jerseys, the Diamond Housing Scheme resident who was found in his apartment with stab wounds about his body last Thursday, was laid to rest yesterday.Kissoon who was at home with his reputed wife at the time was rushed to the Diamond Diagnostic Centre where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.Relatives told Kaieteur News yesterday that were very disappointed in the way the police have carried out their investigations so far.A sister of the dead man told this publication that they were enraged to learn that the man’s reputed wife had been placed on station bail.This newspaper was told that the woman has to report once weekly to the East La Penitence Police as a condition of her bail. According to the dead man’s sister, the police are refusing to disclose any information concerning her brother’s death. Investigations are still continuing.Whyte-Nedd’s non-appointment unfortunate – BakshBy Sharmain Cornette“It is unfortunate that the situation has not been dealt with,” said Minister of Education, Shaik Baksh, of the non-appointment of Acting Chief Education Officer, Ms Genevieve Whyte-Nedd to the substantive position of Chief Education Officer.The Minister asserted though that in his capacity as Education Minister he does not have the authority to recommend the appointment of Whyte-Nedd or any senior officer of the Ministry to that position.“It is the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) constitutional mandate to appoint. I can’t pronounce on that…whether I regret the situation or not… I can’t determine if Ms Whyte-Nedd can be appointed to that position.”Whyte-Nedd will be up for retirement later this year having acted in the position of Chief Education Officer for several years but was never appointed although she applied for the said position on at least two occasions.The matter of her non-appointment is currently gaining the attention of the High Court which has ordered that the PSC show just cause as to why Whyte-Nedd was not appointed to the position.According to the Minister, he has been advocating for some time for the extension of the age of retirement, a move which may not have an impact in the public service and may not even have any effect on Whyte-Nedd’s dilemma.“I am on record stating that I would support an extension of the retirement age of teachers. I can’t speak for the Public Service, but of course there will be linkages, therefore I still hold the view that the age of retirement should be extended for teachers from 55 to 60.”The Minister related that he has been bringing back retired teachers to give service, noting that some 80 teachers were brought back into the system last year, in specialist areas.However, before the appointment of the Chief Education Officer could become possible, the Ministry will first have to make a request for the position to be filled yet again. Baksh explained that the Public Service Ministry (PSM) deals with all requests for vacancies in the public service.“We have to make a recommendation for the filling of the vacancy. First we have to write the PSM, and as far as I am concerned, the position of Chief Education Officer has to be advertised publicly before the vacancy can be filled.” And once approval is given, he noted, the actual process of filling the vacancies as in the case of the Chief Education Officer is then forwarded to the PSC.“We have to let them know that we have received an approval and therefore we want them to advertise…we don’t advertise it here (at the Education Ministry).”Reports were that the controversial non-appointment of Whyte-Nedd had spiralled further, with the senior educator being sent home on leave pending her retirement.However,Cheap Buffalo Bills Jerseys, in an attempt to set the record straight, Minister Baksh at a press conference last week asserted that the Acting Chief Education Officer was not sent on leave but was rather entitled to the leave she has commenced.Reports had indicated that Whyte-Nedd had to work but was asked to proceed on leave.  However according to the Minister, “she wasn’t asked as such to go off on leave; she had to go off. Statutorily when you reach the age of retirement you compute the leave entitlement, whether you are on contract or it is a statutory age time, then you have to proceed or you forfeit under the rules and I don’t want that to happen to any officers of my ministry.”In fact the Minister revealed that it was Whyte-Nedd who had brought the matter up with the Human Resource Department. He disclosed that there was a miscalculation on the part of the department which had outlined September 1 for the commencement of Whyte-Nedd’s leave. Reports are that Whyte-Nedd should be up for retirement in November.
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