Mon | Dec 18, 2017

Disgruntled Alpart workers block entrance to plant

Published:Tuesday | November 28, 2017 | 1:38 PM

Operations at the newly reopened Alpart bauxite/alumina refinery in Nain, St Elizabeth have been disrupted due to a protest by some workers.

They are reportedly disgruntled over bonus payments for the Christmas period from the new owners of the refinery, China's Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO).

One worker who identified himself as George says it's customary for them to get extra pay for the festive season.

However, he says they are now being told that they won't be getting any and the management has so far refused to address them.

The dissatisfied workers blocked the main entrance to the plant preventing access.

A number of tractor trailers were forced to turn back due to the protest.

The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre understands that the situation also escalated into a fracas between a worker and a representative from the human resource department.

However, Councillor for the Myersville Division in St Elizabeth,  Leighton Smith, says the workers' discontent goes beyond bonus pay.

Myers claims that workers have been without contracts and gate passes since they began working in February.

 

Councillor of the Myersville Division in St Elizabeth, Leighton Smith

This morning's protest comes about three months after operations at Alpart were restarted following its closure in 2009.

The 1.6 million tonne Alpart refinery was acquired by JISCO from Russian aluminium giant UC Rusal last year for $299 million.

The first shipment of 35,000 tonnes of alumina was made only last week.