Russian official threatens Guyana workers with spade

Guyana Labor Minister Manzoor Nadir Monday said his ministry is launching a full investigation to determine what exactly transpired at a plant owned by Russian bauxite miner Rusal, following complaints from workers and their labor union that a white senior manager had threatened to assault several of them with a spade at its main plant in southeastern Guyana.

Nadir said he has instructed the deputy chief labor officer to mount a full probe into the incident at Rusal’s Aroraima Plant in the Berbice region a week ago when workers complained that an angry general manager had boarded a company bus filled with workers and threatened to injure some of them because they had complained about working conditions.

The incident is the latest in a series of problems the company has had with workers and the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union in the past two years, including the firing of more than 100 for joining a union-led strike for pay and better conditions and in another incident, for protesting alleged poor hygiene at a workers canteen.

Nadir said government has been forced to intervene.

“We “we have found that Rusal is investigating itself, so we thought it best that we should launch our own probe into events,” Nadir said as the working week began.

Rusal has since withdrawn the Russian manager from the plant and is likely to replace him, officials said.

Union Leader Lincoln Lewis said that his organization has almost no relations with the abrasive Russians expatriates but will be fighting thiis issue to the bitter end.

Rusal is working in an area previously owned by ALCOA, the American bauxite giant.

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