Final warning

Decision on national strike now rests on Inniss’ shoulders

He has already given his strong backing to the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) in its current impasse with the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW).

But after the NUPW’s National Council gave its blessing to a threatened national strike, Minister of Industry of Commerce Donville Inniss issued a strong word of caution this evening that he was not prepared to have his office “intimidated by threats by anyone or any entity”.

Donville Inniss
Minister of Industry of Commerce Donville Inniss Donville Inniss

“I trust that respect for law will apply,” said Inniss, following a two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting of the NUPW’s National Council at its Dalkeith headquarters, which ended just after five this evening.

Inniss, who is due to meet with NUPW officials tomorrow morning in a last-ditch attempt to avert the possible shutdown, is already on record as saying that his willingness to meet with the NUPW is not an indication that the BIDC would automatically withdraw letters of termination issued to 13 workers.

However, in a brief interview with Barbados TODAY after the union held its talks, he insisted that had not asked “either side to alter their position” as a pre-condition to tomorrow’s meeting.

However, the final decision on whether there will be a full-blown strike now rests on his shoulders after the NUPW indicated today that such action would be pursued if the state-owned BIDC failed to withdraw the termination letters, which were issued on Wednesday, June 17, to the 13 workers who are all over the age of 60.

Acting General Secretary of the NUPW Roslyn Smith told Barbados TODAY immediately following a two-and-a-half hour-long meeting of the National Council that a last-ditch effort to have the strike threat averted during tomorrow’s meeting with Inniss, which is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

“Basically the Council met and ratified any industrial that needs to be taken. If the meeting tomorrow goes sour or awry . . . we are still on course [for strike action],” Smith warned.

NUPW President Akanni McDowall further cautioned the Minister that the membership of the union had not changed its position and therefore stood ready to embark on serious action.

NUPW president and other members following today’s National Council meeting.
NUPW president and other members following today’s National Council meeting.

“So, the plan is to attend the meeting tomorrow, hear what the Minister has to say and then we will start to roll out our strategy. But the Minister must be mindful that our position has not changed,” McDowall told Barbados TODAY.

“The members said to us that they want those workers back to work or they have to pay them until the age of 67
. . . and this evening we have a strong position from the Council saying that we can give those workers as much support as we need to,” he added.

In the meantime, well-placed sources have indicated to Barbados TODAY that the 13 workers were issued with option forms by the BIDC today. If they agree to sign, it would mean that they have accepted the statutory board’s offer of a gratuity and a reduced pension.

However, up to late this evening there was no indication that any of the recently dismissed employees had accepted the offer.

Barbados TODAY, however, understands that the workers have retained attorney-at-law Gregory Nicholls, who is expected to file an injunction in the High Court, which would effectively block their terminations.

An NUPW official also said the court may have to settle the controversy surrounding the interpretation of the Pensions Act under which the employees were displaced.

The NUPW has been contending that the amended Act allows employees at statutory boards to retire at age 67, but the BIDC seems to have a different interpretation of the legislation.

The Barbados Workers Union (BWU) has pledged its full support to the NUPW in the current impasse. As a result, General Secretary Toni Moore told a news conference last week the BWU would support any action pursued by the NUPW.

However, in a separate development, today’s meeting of the NUPW’s National Council ended both prematurely and in rancor.

After successfully concluding its deliberations on the BIDC matter, there was major disagreement among members over the selection of a delegate to attend an overseas conference.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

18 Responses to Final warning

  1. Maureen Annius
    Maureen Annius July 1, 2015 at 6:32 am

    How many more stupid time wasting talks let the strike happen

    Reply
  2. Amanda Greaves
    Amanda Greaves July 1, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Shut right down

    Reply
  3. carson c cadogan July 1, 2015 at 7:29 am

    I wonder if everyone know that Akani Mc Dowall is Liz Thompson husband son?..

    And that he has an agenda?

    What he wants to do is to bring out on the behalf of the Bees the whole civil service just like was done by Obrian Trotman a few years ago in order to cripple the Govt.

    Reply
    • Carl Harper July 1, 2015 at 9:25 am

      A fact check just revealed that you are spreading rumor and lies about the parentage of Mr McDowall. He is not the son of Liz Thompson’s husband, according to my usually reliable source.

      You should be ashamed of yourself. Any last ounce of credibility you had, irrespect of your political yardfowlism, has been shattered.

      People like you should be denied internet service and be made to pay high duties on computers.

      Reply
  4. carson c cadogan July 1, 2015 at 7:40 am

    I guess the Barbados Labour Party is hoping for lightning to strike the same place twice.

    Reply
  5. Kevin July 1, 2015 at 7:50 am

    I think the major problem was with how the non-voluntary retirement was done. Were they given prior notice? Was that part of the original contract?

    Reply
  6. Matie Siew
    Matie Siew July 1, 2015 at 7:58 am

    U see bare talk today is wed them waiting on a minister who will just prolong it . And give no satisfaction

    Reply
    • Matie Siew
      Matie Siew July 1, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Give the ppl there time to finish..

      Reply
  7. jrsmith July 1, 2015 at 8:09 am

    The issue ,the unions have no strength, over the decades they have wasted that sucking up to politicians ,who carry they own agender. my take , these are 60 year old people near retirement, why not fight for them to receive a very good, gratuity and proper pension , not accepting nonsense of reduce pensions.

    You unions must stop wanting war and start thinking, how to win cases for your members. you all need to be more politically proactive, to become members of parliament to represent bajans. Stop depending on the lost cause. striking is not a winning number at the moment. compromise.

    DO YOU PEOPLE THINK IT MATTERS TO POLITICANS,WHETHER YOU STRIKE OR NOT, YOU THE STRIKERS HAVE SECURED THOSE POLITICIANS LIVELYHOOD FOR A FIVE YEAR PERIOD, AND STRENGTHEN THEY PENSIONS BY VOTING FOR THEM MOST OF WHOM ARE FAILURES.THEY STILL GOING TO BE PAID.

    UNIONS AND MEMBERS, YOU ALL NEED TO BE ABLE TO NEGOTIATE WITH AND FROM STRENGTH, BAJANS STOP ALLOWING THE PARTY POLITICIS TO WEAKEN YOU, UNITE AND FIGHT AS ONE. TO WIN. NO WAR LESS SHOUTING.

    Reply
  8. villager. July 1, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I knew it all along this boy is just about his political association, all of the ranting and raving and threats, are not for any greater good,it is about egos but as the old bajan saying goes time longer than twine,and all of these rousers will be fond wanting.

    Reply
  9. Patrick Blackman July 1, 2015 at 9:19 am

    “An NUPW official also said the court may have to settle the controversy surrounding the interpretation of the Pensions Act under which the employees were displaced.”

    “The NUPW has been contending that the amended Act allows employees at statutory boards to retire at age 67, but the BIDC seems to have a different interpretation of the legislation.”

    As I have said in previous posts this was the only issue, an interpretation of the Act and therefore the move towards a strike is just silly. Let the courts deal with the issue.

    Reply
  10. carson c cadogan July 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Carl, then I also take it that you are also unaware that the Bees poured $34,000.00 in getting their boy elected.

    Reply
  11. villager. July 1, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Carson leave this Mccdowall boy alone he will bring his pigs to fine market, take solace in the fact that haman in biblical times had a plan,one shrouded in confusion and as clandestine as he thought it was he was weighed in the balance and found wanting.The same gallows that he so fervently built hung him. Every body nowadays wants to pick a fight with the government,everyone wants their grand moment in time to show this government the ball that shot nelson, no one cares if their ill conceived ideas and plans wreak havoc on this fair land of ours,i heard a moderator on a call in program today stop short of condoning some of the seditious behavior and statements that are constantly espoused on that particular station, and i really some times ask myself what is really going on in this place? NO RESPECT for those in authority,he even intimated that now there is a heads of government conference being held here,that a national strike would be ideal, in other words embarrass the government while the world is watching,and then they are the first to speak of love for country, give me a break,all of you who are so eager to destabilize this country,know this God see the proud and haughty from a far off,he knows their wicked plans and he laughs,for he knows that their time is coming.

    Reply
  12. carson c cadogan July 1, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    TOADAY’S POLL

    Is Mia a real Lawyer?

    (a) yes
    (b) no
    (c) dont know, but would like to find out

    Reply
  13. villager. July 1, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    (c) my vote Carson.

    Reply
  14. dave July 1, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    you DLP yard-ducks are something else !

    Reply
  15. jrsmith July 2, 2015 at 2:37 am

    @, Dave, hail, you cannot call my party people ,yard ducks , I am challenging you to a dual at dawn , name the day ,you can do better than . they must be names much worst.

    Reply
  16. Patrick Blackman July 2, 2015 at 8:22 am

    @jrsmith Hail , please don’t hurt @dave too much, the boy focuses too much on party and not the issues, give him a break.

    Reply

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