Union president running out of time – Franklyn

Time appears to no longer be on the side of embattled President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall, following his recent reversion from a senior acting post to his substantive junior position in the public service.

With his acting stint as Health Planning Officer due to officially expire tomorrow, one trade union official today acknowledged there was no longer a legal leg for the NUPW to stand on, in terms of its argument for McDowall’s reinstatement.

At the same time, General Secretary of the Unity Workers’ Union Caswell Franklyn sounded a strong word of warning that “the issue is way too fundamental to trade unionism to be an the NUPW’s fight alone”, while describing Government’s treatment of the union president as not only “vindictive and stupid”, but nothing short of “a criminal offence”.

“He [McDowall] has no claim to that job after tomorrow, but you can’t just allow [the removal of a union president from a public service post] just to happen and have no response, because they would do it to Caswell tomorrow, Mary Redman [Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union president] the next week and so on.

“So this is something that is fundamental to the trade union movement,” he said.

Franklyn, who had earlier raised questions about McDowall’s entry into the public service, said that was an entirely different matter to the one the union was presently confronting.

He pointed out that Barbados has been signatory since 1967 to the International Labour Organization Convention, and that “these officials are supposed to be protected against victimization for doing their job as trade unionists.

“If we don’t have that protection, unions would not exist,” he told Barbados TODAY.

His comments came as union representatives, including the embattled McDowall, met at Cabinet office for discussions with Government officials.

Although the matter of McDowall’s restatement is still foremost on the union’s agenda, Barbados TODAY understands that today’s meeting ended without a firm commitment from the Freundel Stuart administration to that effect.

Asked what were the implications in terms of the ongoing protest action by the NUPW at both ports of entry, Franklyn, who was not party to today’s talks, said he was not in a position to say if the union would call off its protest action at this stage.

At the same time, he did not seem to hold out much hope that Government would give in to the NUPW’s demands, not even with the threat of industrial action hanging over the current three-day visit by Britain’s Prince Harry.

“This Government doesn’t care about anybody or anything. If they were interested in settling this matter, they wouldn’t wait until the Prince land; they would have done it long before. But they want to show that they are tough and they will hold out,” Franklyn charged.

He also did not spare any wrath for those workers who had refused to have any part in the recent industrial action, calling them “damn well selfish”.

“They say, ‘oh well, other people got reversions and the union never fought, but no worker in Barbados ever got reverted
for the reasons that Akanni was reverted,” said Franklyn in the NUPW president’s defence.

Contending that it a clear-cut case of political victimization, he said there was a time when the current administration was firmly in McDowall’s corner. However, he said it was clear that he had now fallen out of favour with them, given his unceremonious removal from his acting position approximately six weeks before his stint was due to come to an end.

“They could have allowed him to continue in that job for six weeks and there would have been no issue, but because he got up and spoke on behalf of the sanitation workers so forcefully that morning, they took him out,” Franklyn claimed.

However, he said the move had turned out to be a major misstep on the part of Government, since there was no evidence of any offence on McDowall’s part.

“You could only take him out if there was an offence,” he argued.

“And if he committed an offence, there would have been the process you go through. You charge him, and have a hearing and then move him if he was found guilty. That is the only way you should be able to remove him before the expiration of his acting appointment, because for all intents and purposes, he is to be treated as though he is appointed to that job for the duration of the acting appointment,” the veteran trade unionist said.

24 Responses to Union president running out of time – Franklyn

  1. Hal Austin November 30, 2016 at 4:29 am

    Being a union official does not exempt one from normal HR management. People holding non-executive unions office cannot use thwt to bully employers in to dancing to their tunes.
    On the contrary, union officers, full time or honorary, have a duty of tolerance and good manners, not only to employers, the people they meet across the negotiating table, to to their members.
    NUPW officers have been misguided in their support for Mr McDowall, who has shown no sense of moderation in that he is the leading campaigner for his own case.
    Govt should give the union 24 hours to settle the matter to sack MCDowall.
    The union has 8000 members out of about 30000. If some of the members walk out in support of him, then dock their pay and warn them; if they do not return to work, also sack them.
    You can be sure the ones with mortgages, children at school, credit card and other debt will think twice.
    Who rules Barbados, the unions or the government?

  2. Donnie Smith November 30, 2016 at 4:47 am

    Not true Mr.Franlyn, the full story has not been told. The gentleman should not have been placed in the acting position as he did not meet the requirement specified in the correspondence sent to PAD. Who misled the Commission despite the specification required. The Commission had earlier made a decision that the reversion should have taken place but it was held back. Has anyone asked who was responsible for that. Is this the same gentleman that superseded seven persons and is this matter before the courts. There are persons who haver reverted since Mr. McDonald. His reversion has nothing to do politics.

  3. jrsmith November 30, 2016 at 6:05 am

    This is how things are so confusing, what is this or that pure confusion.

  4. Elvin Brome
    Elvin Brome November 30, 2016 at 6:52 am

    He out of time already

  5. Rosanna Lewis
    Rosanna Lewis November 30, 2016 at 7:49 am

    I guess as usual the government does not understand the binding and seriousness of the ILO Convention.

  6. Phoenix November 30, 2016 at 8:15 am

    @ Hal Austin
    The government acted irresponsibly and unethically. That is the simple crux of the matter in hand. deal with what is morally right before parking a political dissertation which seeks to divert attention to honesty and moral decency, traits which this government seems quite happy to lack…

  7. Loretta Griffith November 30, 2016 at 8:20 am

    The only winner is the Unity Workers’ Union. Membership should grow. I have repeatedly said that you have got to see past the facade.
    Secondly, I honestly did not like the approach of the NUPW. Their approach appeared bullish to me and my take, bullies should be treated like whom or what they pretend to be (this is how I feel about bullies in general).

    • Sunshine Sunny Shine December 1, 2016 at 10:31 am

      Then I guess you do not like Freundel and his lot. Plenty of examples where they bullied the Barbadian public and sucked up to their campaign contributors. Regardless how the union is perceived, the DLP are the real menance.

  8. Raymond Lorde
    Raymond Lorde November 30, 2016 at 9:12 am

    In one mouth, you can hear that he should not be even in the lower job and then hear he should remain in the higher post. Duplicitous ?

  9. RC November 30, 2016 at 9:22 am

    The Government of Barbados with support or criticism from the Opposition runs any Country including ours, not the Unions. The same way that the Teacher’s Unions cannot expect their members to be paid when they call them out of School to attend meetings, the Union delegates cannot expect to Shut down the Island during our busiest time of the year and not expect repercussions from the Government and all sensible Bajans.

  10. Rechelle November 30, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Hal Austin, you are a stupid anti-union anti-worker and a pro DLP supporter. Just reflect on your stupidity and think back to what was happening to the worker around 1937.

    • Sherlock Holmes. November 30, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      I see that reason and common sense has fled you.

  11. Francis November 30, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Please keep your comments civil !
    No need to call anyone stupid.
    Good manners people!!

  12. Carson C Cadogan November 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    This is the man who is “advising” the NUPW.

    Can you believe it? Of all the people in the World this is who the NUPW have turned to.

    They are really scrapping the bottom of the barrel.

  13. Sherlock Holmes. November 30, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    It is time that all of those who hold these so called lofty positions in these unions become full time employees of their respective unions. The President of the NUPW is very immature and believes that he is entitled to almost any thing he desires and that simply cannot work,he has no idea what he is doing and i have said time and time again he needs to learn the mechanics of unionism and stop with the bullying tactics. It will not be tolerated,There are protocols which govern industrial relations, not cowboy or wild boy tactics whereby as soon as someone believes that they cannot get their way all hell will break loose and wild cat willy nilly strike actions are implemented. This union from the time this new crop of so called leaders took up their positions has descended into pure chaos and it is time to bell the bullies this nonsense has to stop,this country is bigger than anyone man.

  14. Natalie Murray November 30, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    @Hal Austin

    Are you stating that removing Akanni Mcdowall before the stipulated time was “normal HR” and not victimization from the political thugs in this country.

    The Union did not write the RULES and REGULATIONS that governs the Public Service. The regulations states that for acting purposes the most senior qualified person should act.

    On the point of good manners…..what are you trying to say. They are all equals at the negotiating table so if the PM can insult the Union Leaders in public they can do likewise..

    So far Akanni Mcdowall, you are doing what is expected of any good Union President. Your role is to protect the rights of the working class and to fight any injustices. You were not elected to cater to the needs of the political thugs and turn a deaf ear to the membership who elected you.

    Bro Mcdowall do not be misguided from the noises of the supporters of George Street. They will be silence in due course.

    Forward ever – Backward Never

    Solidarity Forever

    • Carson C Cadogan November 30, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      This is not about workers.

      This is all about the upstarts now at the head of the NUPW.

      First equipping themselves with expensive Luxury cars at the workers expense.

      Failing to include certain members of the Executive to their secret meetings. Taking part in the Barbados Labour Party march and the list goes on and on.

      This has nothing to do with workers. The workers are just pawns in a partisan political game they are playing.

    • Sherlock Holmes. November 30, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      @NATALIE Murray and when the time of silence comes there will be no more industrial disputes in Barbados, as a matter of fact everything will be hunky dory. You see why your argument is that of a misguided sycophant and a political shill? This is the biggest problem this union is facing it is not impartial in it’s dealings and people like you gives credence to the giddy headed little boy who is leading it. In the end lady, this union will have no teeth when your party comes to office as declared by you and then the members who are the workers of this country and who are supporters of both parties will the ones who will suffer. I am certain that i saw two senior leaders of this union vying for political office and though they were unsuccessful i am sure you are aware of which party they aligned themselves with. In it’s current state this union will implode unless some reasonable person or persons take control.

  15. Rechelle November 30, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    What impartiality are you speaking about? The type when Dereck Alleyne was trying to get rid of McDowall?

    • Sherlock Holmes. December 1, 2016 at 4:17 am

      Rechelle the way he has caused so much strife in this union even Jesus would get rid of him.

  16. Hal Austin December 1, 2016 at 5:33 am

    Returning someone to his/her substantive position can take place at any time within the time limit.
    An acting position is not a permanent one, although I am aware that in Barbados people can ‘act’ for their entire working lives.

    Plse call me any thing, I have broad shoulders, but not a support of the Stuart-led DLP. They have done more damage to the economy that 14 yrs of Arthur inspired debt.

  17. Aneta December 1, 2016 at 7:37 am

    And they say we have a high level of literacy in this country. Hell no. Before you come and express your views through this medium, get wunna facts correct. The young lady in the position of vp within the NUPW is really vindictive and has a very wicked streak. Always causing confusion. No more said on that. Research for self. The union is here to do a job and represent the masses. He is young and not a thug. Holmes and Carson. You both sicken me. Why don’t you both go and do the job and cease your ignorant ideas.

    • Carson C Cadogan December 1, 2016 at 7:54 am

      He is a joke. He does not know what he is doing.

      People are missing an important thing here, his surname.


      Who in the last Barbados Labour Party Govt. had that same surname?

    • Sherlock Holmes. December 1, 2016 at 11:30 am

      Well Aneta, i hope you do not die from whatever sickness that is eating away at you, actually i don’t really care but here is the thing the facts of this matter is clear for all to see,and the difference between you and i is that i bear no allegiance to any party, i speak out against tyranny in any form regardless as to who the perpetrators are,and just as you had no beef vilifying the VP with your venomous description,please be cognizant that we are also free to speak our minds and when you speak of ignorant ideas you my dear lady take the cake. Take the time and read what you wrote again and see if it is convincing.


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