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Kellman shocked at NHC work stoppage

Employees of the National Housing Corporation (NHC) are back on the job following a brief work stoppage Wednesday morning, which Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman said came as a surprise.

The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) had warned last month that workers would walk off the job immediately following the Crop Over weekend if anyone from outside the organization had been appointed to the position of Human Resources Manager.

Denis Kellman

Denis Kellman

The union said at the time that the employees felt aggrieved that Assistant Human Resources Officer Polla Blackman, who had acted in the position for a year – without pay, according to the NUPW – was being overlooked in favour of someone believed to be linked to a senior policymaker.

It was around 9:30 a.m. when approximately 30 workers downed tools and assembled in front of the NHC headquarters on Country Road, St Michael to attend a brief meeting addressed by NUPW Acting Assistant General Secretary Wayne Walrond, who stopped just short of accusing the NHC of practicing nepotism.

“We are surprised that given the fact that the NHC is claiming that pending the merger [of the NHC, the Urban Development Commission and the Rural Development Commission] there is no commitment to filling posts that it was convenient to hold an interview and someone who has connections would have been appointed to the post. We do not want to say that it is nepotism, but based on information, it seems to appear that this whole interviewing process was thought out with the understanding to fill the post. Blackman is adequately qualified; she had been doing the job, therefore we think that it is an abuse of power,” Walrond said.

The new Human Resources Manager reported to work for the first time today, and Kellman, the minister with responsibility for the NHC, told journalists that the correct procedure was followed in hiring the new employee.

Kellman explained that the post was advertised, individuals were interviewed and the most qualified applicant was selected for the position.

“It was not a situation where someone was chosen and the persons within the organization were not given an opportunity. Everybody would have been given the opportunity. If you wanted the job you could have applied and you would have been interviewed,” the minister said.

Thanking Blackman for acting in the position for a year, Kellman said: “I can assure you that the young lady would have been paid for a year in that said position and she was interviewed.”

“I am a bit surprised that the NUPW and anybody would be protesting,” he added, insisting that the new Human Resources Manager was “very qualified” and she “came first in her interview”.

However, the NUPW dismissed the interview as a sham, suggesting it was simply a means via which Government could justify the appointment.

“We believe that this interview was used as a smokescreen to justify the action of appointing a person to the position because no one can say that Blackman was incompetent based on any measurement. We at the NUPW are questioning the rationale for taking such action against the background that everything was being held in abeyance because of a merger,” Walrond protested.

Meanwhile, pointing to the recent recommendation by the Employment Right Tribunal that the National Conservation Commission and other Government entities should improve their human resource management practices, Kellman explained that the appointment of a new Human Resources Manager was the first step towards the restructuring of the NHC to make it more efficient.

“I think the union should be happy to hear that the Employment Rights Act will be adhered to by this person coming to the job, and it will be put in place.

“In other words, I expect her as soon as possible to put the Employment Rights Act in place at NHC. I expect her to be able to increase the productivity of NHC, and I expect her to deal with the unions so that they would not have to turn up at NHC on matters like these; that we will have a HR department that we are able to deal with the unions before it gets . . . to management,” the minister said.

Source: (NC)

2 Responses to Kellman shocked at NHC work stoppage

  1. realist August 4, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    How do you come “first” in an interview when you were probably given the questions beforehand? This is a known occurrence in Barbados with many government jobs; the interview questions are given to friends and family. Furthermore I am advising people not to act in positions. Let the post be advertised and a candidate selected for it from the outset because in most cases the person acting does not get the job. You go to the interview at a disadvantage; the panel knows you and in most cases focuses on your weaknesses. The discussion is based solely on identifying your faults. On the other hand, the next candidate enters the room and the same panel, in half of an hour can deem that person adequate for a job with seeing his/her performance. It happen quite often in education so I guess it is spilling over to other ministries. If you are good enough to act and nothing goes wrong, then you are good enough to keep the job permanently. Barbadians must stop using each other for their own convenience. Always put yourself in the next man’s shoes, Mr. minister how would feel if we had done that to you? You are not doing too well in your job but you want to keep it.

  2. Tony Waterman August 25, 2016 at 12:23 am

    You are Definitely NOT a “realist” where is it written in Law that if if on Acts in a Position, that Automatically the permanent Job is theirs ??
    You were only ACTING and you were aware that you were only ACTING from Day One, you were NEVER promised the Permanaent Job.

    it is alleged the the Protocol set for such instances was followed, and the Union did NOT deny That, now if there was no interview they would still be the same upheaval as when there was an interview, how is that right on the Union.

    The Uniuon has no right to agitate when someone/anyone is Hired in the Public Service, as they have no authority in that domain. stick to whatever a Uniion should be doing, and take your Mouths out of other people’s Business.


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