Mauritius | Agro & Food

February 23, 2011

Sugar unions' strike threat

The spokesperson of the Joint Negotiating Panel (JNP), Mr Ashok Subron, told NEWSNOW yesterday that a general strike of sugar industry workers is back on the agenda.

The  threat  follows  “the attitude  adopted  by  the  Mauritius Employers  Federation (MEF)  and the  Mauritius Sugar  Producers  Association (MSPA)  to  constantly  question the work of the  National Remuneration  Board (NRB)”.

The unions  also  accuse them of “sabotaging” the recommendations of the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and  Employment last  year asking  employers  to  give a 20%  salary hike  to sugar  industry workers as well as a number of other benefits.

The JNP, a trade union platform grouping the Sugar Industry Labourers Union (SILU), the Union of Artisans of the Sugar Industry (UASI), Organisation of Artisans Unity (OAU) and the Artisans and General Workers Union (AGWU) amongst others will protest in the streets of Port Louis with the collaboration of the Confederation Syndicale de Gauche (CSG)-Solidarite on March 19.

Mr Subron explained that the last meeting which was held at the headquarters of the NRB was “very agitated” after the MSPA and the MEF put pressure on the NRB to ignore the issues which the Ministry of Labour have sent for consideration.

Minister Shakeel Mohamed highlighted at least 20 issues facing the employers of the sugar industry, including the recommendation of the Commission for Mediation and Conciliation(CMC) to give a 20% salary increase to all employees of the industry.

The NRB had to consider these issues and make a series of recommendations which will be implemented as laws by the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment. The victory of the JNP was considered historic after the MSPA agreed to the salary hike proposed by the CMC last year.

“The MSPA and the MEF want to sabotage the issues brought forward by the ministry and the recommendations of the CMC. We will not let this happen. A general strike of sugar industry workers is at now on the agenda and will be surely be translated into action if the MSPA and the MEF try to sabotage the joint working sessions of the NRB,” Mr Subron said. The next meeting of the NRB is on Thursday.

By Nitesh Boodhoo

Text by NewsNow.mu
 

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