Some of the workers protesting at Aurora Gold MineAurora Gold Mine workers…says it was not invited to upcoming meetingThe National Mine Workers’ Union is the unofficial representative of workers from the Aurora Gold Mine (AGM) and after many calls for unionisation from employees, the Labour Department has promised a fast-tracked process to guarantee this.President of the National Mine Workers’ Union, Sherwyn Downer told Guyana Times on Saturday that the union is pleased with this accomplishment, judging from the fact that the Guyana Goldfields Inc demonstrated resistance in the beginning.Over 200 workers had downed their tools and initiated strike actions last Tuesday, after calls mounted for them to be officially represented by a union and other improved working conditions and wages.Downer stated that after meeting with officials from the Labour Department, they were able to ensure that none of the workers lost their jobs and an expedited application procedure.The Union representative clarified that while reports surfaced that they were invited to the upcoming meeting on Monday with the workers and Government officials to iron out pertinent issues, this is fallacious.“The company announced that they have agreed to dialogue with the Ministry and the workers’ representative. The officials are going in there on Monday. Now, we have not been invited. It is not fitting well with my members and the workers are now demanding that I come into the delegation on Monday. They have said that they are willing to [go] back on strike again because they are demanding my presence. Meeting out there is not enough,” Downer said.Downer stated that the Department of Labour has announced intentions of conducting a poll to determine if the NMWU is capable of representing the employees. This has created unrest among them since it points to the existence of another Union body.“This morning (Saturday), the Minister is quoted as saying that they have to conduct a poll. Now a poll means that you have more than one union contesting. In this case, there is no other union there. So to say that you’re going in there to conduct a poll, it is raising eyebrows and the workers themselves is asking now ‘where is this other union coming from’ because they’re indicating that it is more than one union,” he asserted.According to him, a survey is needed to ensure that they can garner 40 per cent or more of the workers’ support and he is confident that this can be achieved.“Using the words ‘poll’ and ‘survey’ is two different things. A survey will determine if we have more than 40 per cent at Aurora and we have more than that.”One of the workers contacted this publication, stating that clarity is needed on these issues. He stated that by not inviting their representative and conducting a ‘poll’, it is seen as a means to “smuggle” another union to represent them.During the strike, the workers had claimed that they were threatened with having their Wi-Fi cut off which is vital to ensure communication from their Cuyuni-Mazaruni location to the coast. They are demanding better wages, better quality food and laundry services, out of town allowance, missing NIS contributions among others.On Friday the Canadian company indicated that persons are returning to work on a phased approach and it is anticipated that full production will resume shortly. Three days without production has resulted in an estimated 22,500 ounces of unprocessed ore.President of the National Mine Workers’ Union, Sherwyn Downer
Facing a dwindling number of available phone numbers for a growing number of San Fernando Valley residents, California officials began holding a series of public hearings Monday on how to introduce a new 747 area code within the 818. Officials are weighing whether the Valley should be split into two zones – one area keeping 818 and the other getting 747 – or whether to “overlay” 747 across the region by assigning the new area code only to new users. Michael Evans, a regulations analyst for the PUC, said that if a new area code is not introduced, the Valley will run out of available phone numbers by summer or fall of 2009. But some at the Glendale City Hall meeting said they were concerned about how the change could affect them. “I think an overlay code is a nightmare,” she said. “How many numbers do I need to dial to call the person right next door to you?” Jim Bottoms owns three moving companies, with a dozen trucks between them, and said he does not like the prospect of an area code change. “It would be expensive – you got to change all your paperwork, all your trucks, and I’m sure there’s a lot of things I’m not even thinking about,” he said in an interview after the meeting. Officials expect to make a decision next year on how to introduce the new 747 area code in the Valley. More information on the proposed area code change is available at www.cpuc.ca.gov. [email protected] (818) 546-3304 Area code meetings The Public Utilities Commission will hold public meetings this week on a new area code for the San Fernando Valley: 1:30 p.m. today at the Las Virgenes Water District headquarters, 4232 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas; 7 tonight at San Fernando City Hall, 117 N. Macneil St.; and 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.John Zachman, a 35-year Glendale resident, urged the PUC to let him keep his 818 by adopting the overlay option. “I belong to the 818 community, if you will,” Zachman said. “All my friends know me as the 818 community.” Because the overlay method would assign 747 to any new numbers, it could lead to a situation in which a household with multiple phone lines could have one with the 818 area code and another with the 747, officials said. The overlay method also would require callers to dial the full area code plus phone number for all calls – even within their own area code. Bridget Oberlin, an actress from North Hollywood, said the Valley should adopt an area-code split, with the east part of the Valley getting the 818.