Eight thousand sugar workers laid off in Jamaica
KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters): About 8,000 sugar industry workers in Jamaica were laid off on Thursday as the government forged ahead with a plan to privatize five state-owned sugar factories, officials said.
The employees of the Sugar Company of Jamaica were given 14 weeks pay and sent home, officials said.
Agriculture Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton
"The workers have received payment and from all accounts everything went well," Agriculture minister Christopher Tufton said.
Tufton said that the immediate pay package totaled about US$10.1 million, with another another US$16 million in redundancy pay to be given to the workers at an unspecified future date.
The government is selling the five factories to Brazilian company Infinity Bio Energy. Tufton said he expected the sale to be completed by Dec. 31.
Among those who were given notice pay were managers, production and field workers. Another 12,000 sugar industry workers who were not on staff at the factories will also be affected by the sale.