Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Ja: Sweet protest

Trade unions which represent sugar industry employees plan to stage peaceful demonstrations outside the European Union delegation offices this week to help press Jamaica's case for more time to adjust to Europe's planned sharp reduction in the price it pays Caribbean countries for sugar.

The unions - the National Workers Union (NWU), the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU), the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU) - also intend to take their protests to the embassies of EU members in Jamaica - France, Germany and Britain, officials said.

"We believe we should lend our support to government," said Vincent Morrison, the island supervisor of the NWU, one of the unions coordinating the protest. "We want to translate that support in some practical way."

Jamaica's sugar industry employs an estimated 40,000 people directly and tens of thousands more people in rural communities depend on the industry. Officials fear that a precipitate reduction in sugar prices could cause turmoil in these communities.

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