– GAWU, Labour Dept to meet company next weekThe Demerara Timbers Limited (DTL) has reportedly dismissed yet another employee over the industrial action taken by employees over pay increases.According to information this newspaper gathered, following the dismissal of eight employees on Tuesday, another worker was subsequently laid off which brings to nine workers reportedly sacked by DTL.This latest dismissal comes just days before a scheduled meeting involving DTL, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) and the Social Protection Ministry’s Labour Department.A senior GAWU official told Guyana Times on Thursday that the union is maintaining that the workers must be reinstated with unbroken service. It was explained that the union is demanding that workers, once reinstated, be paid for the days they have been denied employment.One worker explained that the protests at Mabura Hill had eased on Thursday, pending the outcome of next week’s meeting.GAWU General Secretary Seepaul NarineIt was on Monday that workers protested at the company’s headquarters in Kingston, Georgetown. It was after this industrial action that the sight (now nine) DTL employees were reportedly handed pink slips. A move vehemently condemned by GAWU.In fact, the union on Wednesday issued a statement pointing out that this is the first time in history that a private or public entity, has taken such an action despite the country’s labour laws, which prohibits workplaces from dismissing workers for taking industrial action. GAWU had pointed out that DTL’s action is a violation of Section Eight of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act.GAWU added that the moves by the company can be seen as another “anti-worker and anti-union act”.According to the union, the company’s high-handed and “ominous act” represents a decision which must be roundly condemned by all right-thinking Guyanese: “It is a clear attempt to intimidate the workers and use extralegal measures to deny workers their just claims for pay increase.”It was earlier this week that calls were being made for the Labour Department of the Social Protection Ministry to take legal action against DTL over labour violations.GAWU General Secretary Seepaul Narine, who was present at the protest, had told Guyana Times that the timber company must be prosecuted by government over its continued disrespect for Guyanese employees.“What we believe needs to be done now is the Ministry needs to prosecute them because they are in clear violation of the law and not only violating the law to the detriment of the employees but a flagrant disrespect to the Ministry. I don’t think that the Ministry should continue to accept such a situation,” he stated.Efforts to contact Minister with responsibility for Labour Keith Scott on Thursday proved futile.Negotiations between the union and the company reached a stalemate on 17 November 2015 after the company did not approve any pay rise but offered a Christmas bonus of $5000 to each worker. DTL had informed that its financial state precluded it from offering a pay rise.Following the impasse, the dispute was next subjected to conciliatory services by the Ministry of Social Protection, Department of Labour.