US sanctionsDays after reports surfaced that German transshipment company Oldendroff Carriers is scaling back on its local operations, the company’s officials told Government that if the United States imposed sanctions are not withdrawn or modified by June 5, 2018, they would be legally obliged to terminate their services, putting over 200 workers on the breadline. This was revealed at a meeting with stakeholders in Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) with Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman and Junior Minister Simona Broomes. Trotman has already met with Region 10 Members of Parliament Ashwin Rutherford and Jermain Figueira, along with Rusal and Oldendroff to assess firsthand the impact that the US Government sanctions on Rusal’s Guyana operations in the upper Berbice River, and in the main, on the hundreds of workers employed by the two companies.At the meeting, it was disclosed that senior officials in Europe were engaged in daily talks to mitigate the impacts and information being communicated as soon as it is known. Both companies pledged to continue to engage the workers and to respect the labour laws of Guyana in the handling of their arising issues. Additionally, the companies indicated their willingness to receive Government’s support in whatever way possible.The Ministers and Members of Parliament grilled the officials about their sharing of information with employees and stressed the high value that Government placed on keeping the workers employed to avoid the social impact to the people of Region 10.At the conclusion of the meeting, the Ministers indicated that in addition to holding meetings with Union representatives, they would also urgently visit employees at the various sites in the Berbice River in the coming week.Trotman, along with other senior Government officials, are expected to meet with local Rusal officials and the Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GBGWU) to determine the way forward to cushion the effects of the United States sanctions against Rusal’s co-owner Oleg Deripaska.Despite assurances by Finance Minister Winston Jordan that Government was guaranteed that German transshipment company Oldendroff Carriers would not be affected by the sanctions, on Thursday reports surfaced that the company has begun scaling back its operations ultimately putting over 200 jobs in jeopardy.However, Trotman has since stated that the decision was expected and that measures are being put in place to cushion the effect.On Saturday, via a telephone interview, GBGWU’s President Lincoln Lewis confirmed the meeting, adding that the Union is still awaiting official word from the company. He said they are still monitoring the situation and interacting with the workers who are constantly on the edge.He is hopeful that the meeting will provide some sense of direction as to what Government’s position is, as well as Rusal’s and its associates. On Friday, it was reported that Russian companies, including Rusal, have asked for 100 billion rubles (US$1.6 billion) in liquidity support from the Government, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said. The US Treasury Department in a statement on Friday announced the sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs, 12 companies they either owned or controlled and 17 senior Government officials, who Washington said were profiting from the Russian Government’s engagement in “a range of malign activities” around the world.The Treasury Department warned that US entities would be “generally prohibited” from dealings with the persons and firms on the sanctions list, while added that companies outside the United States could face sanctions for “knowingly facilitating significant transactions for or on behalf of” the sanctioned entities.The US Government’s decision to include Deripaska on its sanctions blacklist will reverberate around the world because his business empire has a global footprint and counts major multinationals as partners. Deripaska, estimated by Forbes magazine to have a net worth of US$6.7 billion, is the main owner of the conglomerate EN+, which in turn is the co-owner of some of the world’s biggest metals producers, Rusal and Nornickel.Rusal had said it regretted its inclusion on the US sanctions list, adding that its advisors were studying the situation. Hong Kong-listed Rusal is one of the world’s biggest aluminium producers. It says exports to the United States account for over 10 percent of its output. Rusal owns assets in Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Nigeria, Guyana, and Guinea. It owns a stake in Australian QAL, the world’s top alumina refinery.