McDowall disappointed at Dr Byer
President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall has revealed that he would be uncomfortable meeting with Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer after she accused his union of acting in bad faith and of treating her office with scant respect during the ongoing impasse with the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).
Speaking in the Senate yesterday, Dr Byer complained that an official of the NUPW had told the media that he would meet with her, although that official had not corresponded with her before the announcement, and had disrespected her, her office and the industrial relations process.
While she did not name the official, it appeared she was referring to McDowall.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY this afternoon, the union president expressed disappointment at Dr Byer, saying she was unprofessional.
”I am really disappointed that the Minister would have made those statements in Parliament. It would now mean that the relationship between the NUPW and the Minister would be one that is uncomfortable since she would have made those statements.
“The Minister has a responsibility for labour in this country and she has to make sure, wherever possible, to couch her language that it comes over as professional as possible,” McDowall said.
However, the NUPW president was not prepared to write off the relationship altogether, assuring that the damage was not irreparable.
“I personally have no problem meeting with the Minister of Labour, but it would be uncomfortable, since she would have shown that she really does not appreciate the way that the NUPW does its business or goes about its business. So it would now be uncomfortable. But I don’t think it is beyond repair. I would have to bring it to the attention of council . . . and they would have to give me their opinion on it,” he said.
McDowall also took a shot at the Minister for her comment regarding adherence to process, suggesting that Government ought to look in the mirror.
He made reference to the termination of over 3,000 public servants last year, along with workers of the drainage unit “who were scopped up like cattle and sent home”, the case of the 200 employees of the National Conservation Commission and that of the ten BIDC employees, insisting process was not followed in any of these cases.
“When it comes to Government, there seems to be no process. Everybody wants the union to fall in line, but when it comes to Government it can do what it wants to do,” McDowall claimed.