Time up!

NUPW strike action could start as early as tomorrow

Thousands of Government workers are expected to hit the streets Monday after the island’s largest public sector union announced tonight it would carry out its threat to shut down the country.

The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) has called out its members in an attempt to force the reinstatement of 10 employees, all of whom have reached the age of 60, who were retired by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).

Acting General Secretary Roslyn Smith also warned that Monday’s call-out would be the second phase of “seen and unseen” industrial action.

While not disclosing the timing or nature of the “unseen” action, there were indications that this could begin as early as tomorrow when operations at the island’s crucial ports of entry, as well as other strategic points, could be disrupted.

This could adversely affect the travel plans of leaders and other visiting dignataries attending the two-day Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government Conference which opened here today.

Should the NUPW’s membership heed the call, up to 10,000 public workers could join the picket line.  The number of protesting workers could rise to 28,000 if the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) honours its pledge to back the NUPW’s actions.   

Acting General Secretary Roslyn Smith (left), President Akanni McDowall (second from left) and other members of the NUPW’s executive expressing solidarity, following this evening’s press conference.
Acting General Secretary Roslyn Smith (left), President Akanni McDowall (second from left) and other members of the NUPW’s executive expressing solidarity, following this evening’s press conference.

In addressing a press conference tonight, NUPW President Akanni McDowall suggested that workers were at war with the authorities, and called on all stakeholders, including the public service, civil society, the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) and the Human Resources Association of Barbados, to join Monday’s protest.

“As part of the process of fighting for the rights and justices of workers in Barbados, the NUPW is calling for the support of all stakeholders. The NUPW is of the view that war has been declared on the labour force of Barbados,” the union president added.

“The unilateral stance taken by the BIDC to force retirement on a number of its employees is a reminder of the injustices to workers in Barbados.  If this situation is not arrested, it raises the question of who will be next?” he asked.

The NUPW decided to strike after talks yesterday with Minister of Industry and Commernce Donville Inniss and the BIDC board broke down.

When contacted tonight, General Secretary of the BWU Toni Moore told Barbados TODAY her union would keep its promise to support the NUPW. However, Moore said she would reserve comment on the decision to strike until she was officially informed by the NUPW president.

The NUPW has demanded an apology from the state-owned BIDC for failing to consult with it before issuing the retirement letters. The union has also called for the letters to be withdrawn, or alternatively, for the workers to be paid until they reached age 67, which the union argued was the legal retirement age.

Inniss has backed the BIDC and has suggested that the law courts might have to decide if the workers could be retired at 60 – the position of the BIDC – or at 67.

The NUPW has faced severe criticism of its handling of the retrenchment of over 3000 workers by the Freundel Stuart Government, an exercise McDowall described today as “inhumane” as he listed a number of grievances.

“[These grievances include] the termination of drainage workers without notice; the unfair termination of employees of the National Conservation Commission and concern that their cases have not been heard to date; and the incorrect gratuity monies and vacation pay that were granted to former workers of Beautify Barbados,” McDowall stated.


11 Responses to Time up!

  1. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce July 3, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Reinstate workers age 60? Wait……I am sure young want to work. Step aside and give them a chance do!

  2. Patrick Blackman July 3, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Mr. Akanni McDowall you have gotten your 15 minutes and will have your grand performance on Monday and then what happens Tuesday, you still have to come back to the courts for an interpretation of the pensions act and the authority of BIDC board (as I have said before). Your actions are a sign of your immaturity son, you will remember this day for the rest of your life.

    • Andrew The Voice July 3, 2015 at 7:02 am

      I totally agree, First how do you elect an in-experienced person (Mr. Akanni McDowall), whom do not have enough experience to lead such an organisation, at his age he should NOW be learning the ropes and waiting for his turn, I would NOT trust my future,or be lead by such an inexperienced person.
      Seems like all we are hearing from him since he’s been in office is to strike, strike, strike.
      I am sorry sometimes at that age (60) we have to give away to the situation, and I feel that situation merits the senior persons being retired, now if it was younger people being dis-enfranchised I would somewhat agree but for this age group, seems like its a power play.

  3. Alex Alleyne July 3, 2015 at 6:27 am


  4. Depablo July 3, 2015 at 7:30 am

    So the only people putting the country under pressure is the Trade Unions? This ridiculous Government has done nothing wrong or nothing stupid to put this country under pressure? Stop talking junk.

    Enough is enough. This Government should be under pressure long time for the crap it has been doing but certain old heads in the Trade Unions were hesitant to do anything.

    The PM is over 60, the Governor of the Central Bank is nearly a 100. Why not lobby for them to go home.

    Do what you are doing Mr McDowall. We will rally around you. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!

  5. Harry turnover July 3, 2015 at 7:51 am

    I agree….BUT…certain people in the Civil Service would be using the action as an excuse for not paying certain people their monies on time.
    Tax returns and NIS benefits are the two MAIN ones…..watch and see.
    Remember 24,000 tax envelopes should be at the Post Office already and the NIS is” wash way” with money ,as the experts have said.

  6. lester July 3, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Lets see you did not march for 3000 but you gine march for 10, why monday why not the day of the summit let the whole world see that we care for 10 people and not 3000, just saying….

  7. Patrick Blackman July 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    I would hope that both unions take this weekend to contemplate on the benefits of Monday’s action. The minister has already stated that he is prepared to test this action in the laws courts.

    No one will benefit from this action on Monday, you have a great opportunity to pool your resources and fight this action in court and I do think you would have a great chance of success.

    This could be a landmark decision for labour relations in B’dos and the region. Don’t waste an opportunity to fully represent your members when it really counts.

  8. jrsmith July 3, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    You must have sympathy, for Mr, Akanni and others, they are put in the firing line by the failure of past leaders, who didn’t really fight or challenge the , management of government. because they all became so politically brainwash, that they forgot what they roles were and for whom they represent.

    Senses and logic , this is part of the management structure. This young man he could and must learn fast, call of the so call strike, ASAP, gather his management team, give the members through the media a call for action, a chance to get lots of unionist on his side.
    He must have the guts to pursue this through the courts . sadly there is no real history , he can learn from.

    I am on his side , he must let bajans be proud of him, he must
    bring the respect back to the unions.

    @ , Patrick B, hail, again on the button,
    @,Depablo, hail, I totally agree with most of what you said, but the strike non productive.

  9. Patrick Blackman July 3, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    @jrsmith hail brother – as usual always good words of wisdom chap.

  10. villager. July 3, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    I told all of you so this boy is a giddy headed clown, and i make no apologies for my words ,i cannot believe that grown people would follow these people who clearly are misguided into such folly, i heard one assistant general secretary on the radio today ranting about this is now a new union, please, tell us that this is now a new arm of the opposition,i am sorry for this country when persons who are filled with their own egos are in charge of certain organizations, this is nothing about workers rights,this is clearly a stance to create confusion in this country,all of you who are propagating this type of behavior i hope you all know what you are doing,i cannot and will not support causes that are not genuine. From the time this youngster took over the presidential post i saw through all of his actions, more so his body language and it was clear he was itching for a fight,it is a pity that someone that lacks the requisite experience can lead persons who should know better down a road that will more than likely lead to chaos, i am sorry but shutting down the country for a matter than can be determined in our law courts is pure folly,but then again fools trod where angels fear to thread.


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