NUPW votes to strike

The Government sector could be hit by industrial action as early as Wednesday.

During an emergency meeting at its headquarters Monday, the National Council –– the highest decision-making body of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) –– gave the green light for the NUPW to take whatever action it deemed necessary to force the Personnel Administration Division (PAD) to reinstate NUPW President Akanni McDowall to the acting senior position from which he was removed.

General Secretary Roslyn Smith told Barbados TODAY they were yet to receive a response from the Chief Personnel Officer (CPO) to a request made two weeks ago for a meeting to discuss the issue.

Smith also warned that unless such communication was forthcoming from the CPO’s office Tuesday, protest action would follow almost immediately.

“We [the National Council] had a unanimous decision to take whatever action we deem necessary to bring a resolution to the matter as quickly as possible. Tomorrow me and my officers will meet and decide on the strategy that will be implemented. We wrote the Chief Personnel Officer two Fridays ago and we were of the view we would have been given an early response, but to date, we have no such response.

“Therefore, unless we are going to receive a call by tomorrow, we will be putting things in train to bring pressure to bear on the Government to have the brother reinstated,” Smith added.

She also expressed complained about Government’s overall treatment of public officers, stating that this issue involving McDowall extended beyond the union president.

“This issue will affect all public officers who could find themselves in a similar position and with the lack of consultation,” Smith said.

Asked if the planned protest would involve a call-out of its entire membership, the NUPW executive said she preferred to keep the details close to her chest, but she sought to assure that whatever steps were taken would be effective.

McDowall, who has been carrying his union’s fight to the Freundel Stuart administration for well over a year since his ascension to the presidency back in May 2015, was unceremoniously removed from the senior position of Acting Health Planning Officer 1 and sent back to his substantive post of Environmental Health Assistant 1.

When word first reached the union, it said the “sudden reversion of its president” was nothing short of victimization, while pointing out that he had recently been strongly opposed to Government’s efforts to privatize the state-run Sanitation Service Authority.

However, in Government’s defence, Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer-Suckoo said last week there was no foul play involved in the removal of McDowall from his acting position.  Dr Byer-Suckoo said as far as she was aware McDowall’s time in the acting position had simply come to an end.

It was also last week that NUPW Acting General Secretary Delcia Burke had told Barbados TODAY that the union had received word through unofficial channels that the Personnel Administration Division had filled the position with an employee who was not only McDowall’s subordinate, but who had no experience in that field.

She said at the time that it had been troubling to public servants who had been calling the union to complain that the newly elevated employee had superseded both McDowall and several other officers.

13 Responses to NUPW votes to strike

  1. Brien King
    Brien King November 1, 2016 at 6:57 am

    If indeed his contract has legally come to an end, is this strike to force government to give him a new contract ?

    The employer has the right at the end of a contract to choose another capable person to fill that position, however, it is unwise to choose a least than capable person for such a position but the employer I assume would know what they are doing.

  2. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd November 1, 2016 at 7:15 am


  3. Alex Alleyne November 1, 2016 at 8:39 am

    As expected, if one spit now these UNIONS in BIM is all about self gain and not about Country and will call a strike.

  4. BaJan boy.. November 1, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Lets go we have every and many reasons to. This government has truly been disrespectful to our unions and they have sat by and accepted too much. Time for action..

  5. F.A.Rudder November 1, 2016 at 10:22 am

    For goodness sake people of Barbados we are still playing out Emancipation when we should be far ahead in looking after the greater people’s interest. Your union wants to shut down the government at an instant to protest for one expendable but ignores the woes and cries of your masses how hypocritical can you be members of N U P W you must remember suppression is just as bad as oppression! It sounds good to be important but it better to be in harmony with the masses. You are being selfish and self centered when this matter cannot be discussed, negotiated and settled without such measures that will impact upon the masses of Barbados. I find individuals within the Barbadian public works are totally self-centered and use the people’s government as a personal welfare system. I would wish that Barbadian society grow up from such a state of affairs. Internationally you are looking like cry babies within the international and global communities! With that mind set you are stereo typed!

  6. lester November 1, 2016 at 10:52 am

    why dem dont strtike for the workers in govenment that suffer the same fate as this gentleman? why dem dont strike for those workers whose job description is archaic and still being paid less for the work they are doing

  7. Suzette Clarke
    Suzette Clarke November 1, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Thought some were already on strike.

  8. Alleyne Heath
    Alleyne Heath November 1, 2016 at 11:47 am


  9. Mario Springer
    Mario Springer November 1, 2016 at 1:23 pm


  10. Tony Waterman November 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    What a Bunch of Fools, the Government of Barbados irreguardless of all their Incompetence, IS in Charge,and i am sure, that they did what they wanted/hgad to do, the Union has no Say in this, they were NOT ELECTEED by the People to administer or Minister to the Government, i HOPE that they are DOCKED PAY for EVERY Second that they are on Strike, let’s have that Battle up NEXT.
    I hope the Striking Union has a STRIKE fund for their STRIKERS.

  11. Ashanti Padilla
    Ashanti Padilla November 1, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    He was acting. He’s not entitled to a damn thing.

  12. Sue Donym November 1, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    The NUPW said that Mr McDowall’s stint was ended before the agreed time.
    Questions: Are they hoping to have him back in the position only for the time that they stated he was denied? Or should Mr McDowall be given an extended time as a penalty for removing him prematurely?
    Did Mr McDowall, knowing that the post was vacant, believing he was qualified and capable, apply for the position? Or was it assumed that he would have continued temporarily indefinitely?

    Not so sure that I would feel confident being advised by this union…


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