Tempers flare as temporary workers complain about continued layoffs in public sector
by Emmanuel Joseph
Angry temporary public workers, fearing they could join scores of others already being placed on the breadline, were advised tonight not to go on strike.
The advice came from General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers, Denis Clarke, during a heated emergency meeting at NUPW headquarters, Dalkeith, St. Michael, called to update the temporary employees on talks he held with the Head of the Public Service on proposed layoffs.
The issue of strike action was suggested by a union member, but Clarke told the gathering he would not encourage temporary workers to strike because of the adverse consequences.
He said he preferred that appointed public officers should strike instead, to protect their temporary colleagues.
Earlier during the meeting, Clarke told members he would go home first, rather than support temporary employees striking.
Deputy General Secretary Roslyn Smith said too the union had not put anything in place regarding a “first-in, last-out system”.
“So how they could be laying off people?” She asked. “That is a fundamental breach… We have to get the information and analyse it to determine if we have to hit the road.
She suggested that those workers who were laid off should have been at today’s meeting.
“We need to stop them (Government) sending home people unnecessarily,” Smith declared.
As tempers flared, a postman, who said he would be among about 35 postal workers being sent home tomorrow, urged Clarke to come up with an immediate solution and stop “the lot of long talk”.
The postman said he was tired of workers talking about their personal issues rather hearing of a solution.
In response the NUPW boss stated that the union was gathering information on the layoff situation and would be going back to the bargaining table to try to sort out the matter.
“I hope in the next couple of weeks to get the matter resolved,” he said.
Asked what they should do in the meantime, the trade union leader advised that the employees report for duty as usual.
The meeting which was still ongoing at the time of publication, was so well attended that some who arrived late could not get seats or even into the room. After a while the auditorium became so hot that the doors and windows had to be opened.