Trade unionists win big in Suriname

(Photo: Greenheart)

The BWI-affiliated Progressive Trade Union Federation 47 (C-47) in Suriname emerged victorious in its labour dispute with Greenheart Group N.V., a global company focused on wood harvesting, lumber-processing, marketing and sales and provision of timber and lumber products. 

The union reported that the Chambers Proceedings of the Subdistrict Court rejected Greenheart’s move to terminate the employment contracts of 22 of its workers. This was after the said workers were prevented to work in retaliation for a case they filed against Greenheart in June 2020 demanding the release of delayed wages and proper PPE (dust masks). 

“This victory showcases the importance of being organised and the role of trade unions in the defense of basic labour rights. Now that the proceedings are over, C-47 will do everything in its power to bury the hatchet so that workers can return to work and carry out their duties in a normal and safe manner,” said Robby Berenstein, C-47 General Secretary.

C-47 explained that as early as October 2020, workers’ claim for continued payment of wages was already granted. However, Greenheart refused to enforce the judgment even if it was declared immediately enforceable and filed an appeal. 

As a result, workers were forced to execute the judgment, assisted by C-47 and their local affiliated trade union, the Greenheart Group Employees Organization (GGWO). 

After a nine-month struggle, Greenheart’s appeal was rejected. 

BWI congratulated C-47 and its local affiliate, GGWO for their victory. The global union also lauded FIRST Union, a BWI-affiliate in New Zealand, for its political and solidarity support to the Surinamese workers.