NUPW VP makes rift with executive public

A fresh, rancorous row is developing within the management of the National Union of Public (NUPW), with a top executive accusing colleagues of acting inappropriately on a number of issues.

First Vice-President Joyann Inniss today complained that she and some senior officers had been sidelined by the NUPW’s leadership, who she charged had also violated industrial relations protocols, and in some cases was simply ignorant of conventional norms.

NUPW Vice-President Joyann Inniss
NUPW Vice-President Joyann Inniss

Inniss suggested to Barbados TODAY that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart was right when he said recently that the union had attempted to ambush Government by engaging in industrial action before exhausting all other avenues.

“They are using industrial action as a first resort and not sitting at the negotiation table. There are various avenues available,” the senior trade unionist said.

A clearly miffed Inniss made reference to General Treasurer Asokore Beckles, who yesterday told Barbados TODAY it would be wise to appoint a special independent mediator to help speed up settlements in industrial disputes and avoid protests such as the one his union is currently engineering.

Inniss suggested Beckles had no idea what he was talking about, making it clear there already were mechanisms in place for such mediation, including the Social Partnership of Government, labour unions and the private sector.

“It is interesting that the Opposition Leader [Mia Mottley] would make a comment in relation to the Social Partnership and we ourselves who are supposed to be members of the Social Partnership have not sat at the Social Partnership table to discuss these issues,” she said in an apparent reference to a comment by Mottley at the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry luncheon on Wednesday that the Social Partnership was key to restoring the industrial relations climate.

Clearly at odds with the rest of the leadership over the sick-out at Grantley Adams International Airport and a go-slow at both ports of entry, Inniss said the union was putting the jobs of its members in jeopardy.

“We have now placed some of our members at risk. Industrial action for a long period of time like this is not beneficial to employee or employer. So I am concerned at the end of the day that you have persons sitting on my executive that do not understand industrial relations,” she said.

Fissures between factions of the NUPW hierarchy are nothing new – the union’s president Akanni McDowall recently survived two motions of no confidence, which he said were politically motivated – and there have been reports of hostility between executive members who support the ruling Democratic Labour Party and those who back the Opposition Barbados Labour Party.

While Inniss did not claim political reasons, she complained that deliberate attempts were being made to leave certain members of the executive, including herself, out of the critical meetings.

To support her argument, she spoke of a meeting of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union, the Barbados Workers Union, the Barbados Union of Teachers and the NUPW to which she was not invited and was later made to feel unwelcome.

“When I contacted and asked what is this meeting about I was informed by the General Secretary [Roslyn Smith] that it was a closed meeting. I asked what does that mean [and] I was then told that they needed to keep things confidential.

“I had to inform the General Secretary that any decisions that are made in that meeting cannot be binding because at the end of the day they have to go back and report to their executive and inform them of what is going to happen and seek advice from their executive. Why is NUPW doing all of these things and the executive is not aware?”   

It was for this reason, she told Barbados TODAY, that she was going public with her grievances, which she claimed were shared by other members of the executive.   

“I contacted other members of the executive and I would have asked them if they knew anything about this meeting and they said the only time they knew about meetings was in the Press. So I am having a challenge with decisions being made. I don’t care what licks I get but I am coming out now. I am not in support of several of the recent actions. They need to stop disrespecting the executive,” Inniss stressed.

When contacted this evening, NUPW President Akanni McDowall pointed out that the first vice president was not in attendance at the recent meeting of the National Council at which the unanimous decision was taken to embark on industrial action.

However, McDowall said Inniss’ latest public utterances will be taken to the National Council for discussion.

11 Responses to NUPW VP makes rift with executive public

  1. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince November 26, 2016 at 3:22 am

    You should resign. You seem unable to handle the job…are you whining ?

  2. BaJan boy.. November 26, 2016 at 6:27 am

    This member is obviously seeing it from the political side and she is uncomfortable with the stance towards a DLP government as she supports them. The fact that she has found favour with the PM who was shown such contempt of the unions of recent tells a story. Her concern is obviously not with the future of the trade unions and their responsibilities to the working class of this country but to the DLP…

    • Coralita November 26, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Did she lie regarding her utterances of the NUPW?

      She has a right to support whichever political party she wants, just like you support the BLP. I guess the other executives who were not invited to the meeting and who are also dissatisfied are DLP supporters as well!!!

      When did the NUPW meet with the established social partnership to have the issues resolved before taking industrial action? Since you seem to know everything, educate us the public.

  3. Hal Austin November 26, 2016 at 10:21 am

    What are the 8000 members of the NUPW doing as their union goes in to meltdown?

  4. Joseph Harding November 26, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    These trade unions are only there to represent their own agendas and not the members they supposedly serve.
    As far as can been seen they are hurting the collective bargaining process.
    Maybe, just maybe trade unions in Barbados will receive treatment like that served up by Margaret Thatcher & Ronald Reagan in the 1980’s, they surely deserve it.

  5. miche November 26, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    All I am going to say is this,,,,Matthew 6:24 –
    No man can serve two masters: for either he. will hate the one, and love the other; or else. he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon

    In other words You either Teach our islands children and sign for the Government’s Cheque at the end of the month,,,or you be the president of a union,,,and the UNION print your cheque,,,,,,,,;

    It seems like a conflict of interest to be holding both,,,,,one must go,,ant the time is now RIPE as this monkey has climbed too high,exposing all her tail

  6. Sherlock Holmes. November 27, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Just as i predicted Akanni Mccdowal is an immature giddy headed little boy who will cause the implosion of this union. He is not presidential material period. When he was under pressure there were calls to a particular radio station with some one purporting to be a female literally speaking about the good work he was doing, this was on brasstacks it was clear that the voice was that of a man. Even though it was somewhat distorted one could tell, and i am of the opinion that he was the author of those calls, that showed me the level of his desperation at the time and the glaring level of his immaturity.

  7. D Oracle. November 27, 2016 at 10:21 am

    The young lady has taken a principled stand and is entitled to have her say. Period. I admire her effort to make unions more workable and less of a dinosaur.

  8. ch November 27, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    She is entitled to her opinion. But her stated political references lend doubt to her motives.
    Unless she had made formal, written complaints through appropriate channels and was ignored, she has branded herself as a a traitor within her organization.
    Maybe that is why she was excluded from certain meetings.
    Integrity and disloyalty do not reside in the same mind.

  9. Natalie Murray November 28, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Well said Bajan Boy!!!


  10. Edwin Lawrence November 28, 2016 at 10:39 am

    It seems like peoples minds are so controlled by Partidan politics and the possible sweets that are in it for them that they have lost all reasoning and objectivity. This matter seems straight forward to me. If members of an elected Executive are being sidelined because of known or perceived political affiliation by others who are affiliated with the opposite party then that is blatantly Wong and disrespectful and decisions made whether unamous or otherwise cannot be binding as they would have been made not according to procedure. Also I believe that if a system of negotiation or a procedure is set up to be followed, that it must be followed in order for justice to be served. I am tired of Trade Unions disrupting the country because of Partisan politics. I believe that Trade Unionists when elected for office must not only disavow all affiliation with Political parties but must also disassociate themselves by virtue of a signed document and become NEUTRAL SERVANTS of the people and follow the protocols. No Trade Union should aymydala hijack the emotional fragile state of its members and lead them down the wrong path of dispute settlement. Also at a time when trade unions should be joining in the charge to mobilize their members and families into the celebration of our nations Golden Anniversary, they are being used as instruments of the devil to stir up division and sow seeds of discord. The bible states the truth when it says in Ecclesiasaties ‘To everything there is a season and a time for everything under the sun’….A go slow, a strike, a march or anything of that sort is totally out of place at this time of National Celebration. I say to the Trade Unions swallow your foolish pride and stop taking up each other’s fire range and join in your nations 50th/Golden Anniversary of Independence with National Pride and put away the political partiality. You owe it to yourself and your nations children.


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