BEV closureThe approximate 390 workers, who will be placed on the breadline next month when BEV Processors Inc closes its seafood operations, are expected to be paid a series of incentives by the company.This was indicated when the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) met with company officials on Thursday on behalf of the workers, in accordance with the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act and the Trade Union Recognition Act.According to the Union, the news of the company closing operations came as a shock to many workers, most of whom are single mothers already finding it difficult to solely maintain their families.During Thursday’s meeting, the company’s owner, Bruce Vieira, indicated that several factors would have impacted the decision to end operations in the fishingGAWU President Komal Chand and General Secretary Seepaul Narine updating workers at BEV Processors Inc. on Thursday following a meeting with company officialsindustry. For the past 34 years, the company, which is located at Houston, Greater Georgetown, has been one of the leading processors of fish and shrimp for local and overseas markets.“Mr Vieira contended that in the last few months there has been a substantial decline in the prices being received from his customers locally and abroad. The low prices have resulted in the company having some 600,000 pounds of shrimp on hand. Moreover, the company is required by year-end to have Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. On that matter, he shared that MSC certification process is tedious and it would take about 18 months to complete. He shared too that sales to overseas markets would be severely curtailed unless the MSC certification is obtained,” GAWU said.The BEV boss also related his concern as to whether Government would renew at year-end, the concession through which fishing companies are allowed to purchase fuel under arrangements that allow for lesser taxes to be paid.“Mr Vieira, in the circumstances, expressed deep fear that his company could suffer heavy losses and huge debts,” the Union noted.Nevertheless, the company has agreed to pay its 390 workers a series of incentives to soften the impact thatThe employees wore a worrying look on their faces during the briefing with the unionthe closure will have on their livelihoods. Apart from the statutorily required redundancy payments, the company, through the Union/company engagement, has agreed to pay workers for their full year’s annual leave. This will be done even though the years’ of service would be incomplete when operations cease.Additionally, the workers are also expected to receive their full incentive payment for July, 2018, although the company would end operations around July 15, 2018.“Also, the company agreed to pay the workers 100 hours of their pay rates they would usually receive during the closed season despite the shuttering of the company’s operations before the season commences. The closed season, which would last from August to October, sees a temporary cessation of fishing operations to allow fish to spawn,” the Union further detailed.Following Thursday’s engagement with company officials, the Union representatives met with the workforce and apprised them of the outcome of the meeting.“The Union shared with the workers its dismay that the situation has reached such a sad end. Some workers lamented what life could become if they are unable to secure new jobs. The GAWU committed itself to ensuring that the workers’ rights were protected and vowed to stand in their corner. The workers obviously upset by the sudden closure decision but were nevertheless, in the circumstances, heartened that the Union managed to secure additional payments on their behalf,” the statement noted.Moreover, it was indicated that BEV is also working to secure jobs for the employees. Some of the workers may have an opportunity to be employed by Noble House Seafoods Limited, an entity where GAWU also enjoys bargaining rights. Noble House Seafoods has expressed intention to buy BEV’s shrimp processing equipment as well as its trawlers and as such, it is expected that the company would also retain some of the employee.“This possibility will be confirmed early next week. Additionally, BEV is reaching out to other employers with a view to secure jobs for the now redundant workers,” the Union assured.According to GAWU, this new case of large-scale loss of jobs could not have come at a more distressing time. The Union reminded that over the last few months, several thousand sugar workers became jobless from an unwise policy to minimise the industry. Separately, it added more workers have lost their jobs arising from the economic circumstances that are prevailing at this time.At Thursday’s meeting, GAWU was represented by its President, Komal Chand; General Secretary Seepaul Narine among other Union officials and members of its BEV branch.