Aluminium giant Rusal today fired its entire local staff complement at its Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporation (BCGI) following unrest at the location.
The company said it would suspend its operations in Guyana as the unrest continues, serving termination notices to its 326 employees.
The Russian-owned company said it was pushed to make the move “as a result of serious illegitimate actions that have gone beyond the control of government and enforcement agencies, including arson of the electricity pylon basement and other corporate property, and blocking of the river.”
Further, Rusal added that the prospects of doing business in the country are now narrow. “As the unrest impacting the Company’s operations continues, Rusal believes the opportunities for doing further business in Guyana are now severely limited.”
Additionally, given the concerns created by the unrest, the company said it had moved to relocate all its expatriate employees “on the grounds the security and safety”.
Rusal said the suspended services will not affect its overall performance as the expected falloff will be made up with raw materials from its other mines.
Despite the action taken by Rusal, the Guyanese government today said it had not been formally notified of the intent to dismiss, neither was the workers’ union made aware.
Coming out of a meeting between the company and the Labour Ministry today, Minister of Labour Keith Scott, said it was evident that Rusal did not attend with the intent of finding a resolution, according to a report by the Caribbean Media Corporation.
The standoff between the company and its workers began two weeks ago when the company laid-off almost 150 workers after failing to receive duty-free fuel concessions.
Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, said the action by the company was illegal and that they should take measures to restore them to their posts.
Rusal officials are scheduled to meet with the Chief Labour Officer on Friday, February 7.
Rusal, the leading aluminium producer in the world, operates in 19 countries and also provides aluminium alloys, foil and alumina.