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Maloney to go

Former NUPW boss to be removed from Severance Payments Tribunal

President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall appears to have had his wish, with the imminent resignation of his predecessor Walter Maloney from the Severance Payments Tribunal.

Barbados TODAY has been informed that the NUPW received correspondence today from the Ministry of Labour stating that “in an effort to correct this error, and in accordance with paragraph 4 of the Sixth Schedule of the Severance Payments Act, Cap 355A, a letter of resignation” would be required from Maloney.

The letter, which was addressed to NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith and signed by Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour Yolande Howard, also included an apology for the “error” in appointing Maloney as the workers’ representative on the panel, and sought Smith’s assistance in securing the letter of resignation from Maloney.

The legislation governing appointments to the tribunal states that the Minister of Labour shall appoint as chairman of a tribunal, a person who has been entitled to practise in Barbados as a barrister or solicitor for not less than five years.

It further states that the other members of a tribunal shall be appointed by the Minister of Labour in equal numbers from persons nominated by organizations representing workers and employers in Barbados.

Last weekend, McDowall had expressed dismay that Government had ignored the union’s recommendation that he be appointed to serve on the Severance Payments Tribunal and appointed Maloney in what was described as an unusual occurrence.

It is understood that attempts by the union executive to get Maloney to resign had failed and the NUPW had written to the Ministry of Labour asking that the decision to appoint him be rescinded.

One media report indicated that Maloney had been sworn in by Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave last Wednesday.

McDowall stressed that it was critical that he sat on the tribunal at this time since the over $3 million in severance payment due to retrenched National Conservation Commission (NCC) workers was scheduled to come up before the panel.

“It is very important that I as the current president of the NUPW sits on the tribunal and ensures that the money is paid to these long-suffering workers. We at the union are aware that the money has to be voted and brought before Parliament before workers are paid their severance,” he told Barbados TODAY.

Last weekend, Mc Dowall accused the Ministry of Labour of interfering in the trade union’s business, while Minister of Labour Senator Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo had blamed miscommunications and a clerical error for the mishap.

“I am appalled by the Government for further interference in trade union business. The NUPW submitted my name to sit on the Severance Payments Tribunal but the Ministry of Labour took it upon themselves to contact past president Walter Maloney to be sworn in by the Governor General to sit on the board. There are a lot of matters before this tribunal including the NCC case,” he said at the time.

Maloney could not be reached for a comment on Tuesday’s development. 

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