Guyana opposition warns foreign bauxite firms

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Opposition politicians in Guyana threatened Sunday to kick out two bauxite mining companies from Russia and China if they flout labor laws.

Alliance For Change, the country's second largest opposition party, told residents of the eastern bauxite mining town of Linden that Russia's UC Rusal and China's Bosai Minerals would have to abide by the laws or face tough reprisals.

"We know that whenever we bring them in, they have to abide by the labor laws of the country, not like Rusal and Bosai... They don't abide, we are going to ensure that they abide or they will be kicked out of the country," said AFC presidential candidate Khemraj Ramjattan.

Russian aluminium giant UC Rusal has been at loggerheads with the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union for more than two years over the controversial layoff of 120 workers who had demanded better pay.

The union complains that the government has been too close to the companies and reluctant to impose sanctions on them.

In 2008, Bosai Minerals rescinded letters of dismissal, suspension and warning that had been issued to several workers who had walked off the job.

Ramjattan said investors must respect Guyana's sovereignty and "must abide by our labor laws first and foremost."

Guyana's 65-seat parliament will be dissolved on Tuesday, marking the end of President Bharrat Jagdeo's five-year term. Elections will be held in late November or early December.

The countrys political landscape is largely split between descendants of African slaves and indentured servants from India.

© 2011 AFP

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