Kirkvine workers protest two-year wage-hike delay
Approximately 120 dairy farmers employed to the Kirkvine Refinery in Manchester and St Ann, operated by Russian Company UC Rusal, are refusing to work until negotiations for a four per cent wage increase are finalised.
President of the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees (UCASE), Vincent Morrison, said that talks for a hike in wages and fringe benefits date back to 2018.
However, not only are the negotiations yet to be completed, but workers are further disgruntled by another payment delay.
“... The company has agreed to the two-year negotiations – four per cent in year one and four per cent in year two – but they want to add another two years and don’t want to offer any increases for those additional two years,” said the UCASE president.
A number of workers crowded at the company’s head office in Kirkvine, Manchester, on Tuesday to signal their discontentment.
Morrison told The Gleaner that the wage dispute was one of several bones of contention between the workers and UC Rusal. He said that employees were being denied short-term and long-term benefits.
“Workers are accustomed to get a branding allowance. When they brand the cows, they usually get about $25 each day, and the company has refused to agree to that. There is no pension, no medical scheme, and these are full-time employees,” Morrison said.
The workers are required to clear the pastures for the feedstock, milk the cows, butcher them for the beef market, among other activities.
Human resource manager at UC Rusal, Glendon Johnson, confirmed that the wage row was now before the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and reserved comment until the negotiations are completed.
UC Rusal not only operates the Kirkvine Alumnia Refinery in Manchester and St Ann, but owns 93 per cent of Windalco and runs the operations at the Ewarton Works Refinery located in St Catherine.