NUPW gets union backing

As the country braces for a public sector shutdown on Monday, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is getting strong support from the Barbados Workers Union (BWU) and the Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU).

The BWU said today its executive council will meet in emergency session on Sunday afternoon at four o’clock to discuss, among other things, the extent to which it will give support to the NUPW in its fight against the state-owned Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).

In the meantime, BWU General Secretary Toni Moore has called on all public servants, irrespective of union affiliation, to hit the streets from 8.30 a.m. on Monday, “recognizing that injury to one is injury to all”.

BWU General Secretary Toni Moore
BWU General Secretary Toni Moore

The 10,000 member strong NUPW is seeking to force the state-owned BIDC to either reinstate or fully compensate 10 employees, over age 60, who were recently sent into retirement.

The NUPW is also demanding an apology from the Corporation for not consulting with it before issuing the letters of retirement to the workers who have not yet reached the statutory age of 67.

However, the state entity has rejected all three demands, contending that its decision to retire the workers was well grounded in law.

Today, the NUPW released the route to be followed by the demonstrators on Monday.

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 Thursday’s press conference.

The protest action is due to start off at Queen’s Park, just outside the City, travel along St Michael’s Row, onto Bridge Street, Princess Alice Highway, Pelican Village, around the roundabout outside the Barbados Port Authority and onto Prescod Boulevard.

The demonstrators will then make their way along Redman Drive next to the offices of Minister of Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss, along Cheapside Road, Chapel Street Lower Broad Street, Upper Broad Street, Bridge Street, Fairchild Street, River Road, Lower Collymore Rock, Culloden Road before the demonstration climaxes at the NUPW’s headquarters on Dalkeith.

The BWU has described the BIDC’s action as forced retirement and has stated that it could have been avoided if there was evidence of respect, commitment to the rules, and to open consultations towards agreement by the BIDC.

“The executive council of the BWU therefore reaffirms its support for the NUPW in this matter and expects that we should be able to work out the details of our support with the NUPW in short time.

“In the meantime we wish to encourage the island’s [28,000] public servants, irrespective of union affiliation, to commit their support to the planned course of action, recognizing that injury to one is injury to all.

“The outcome of this impasse will have clear implications for the way we do things going forward,” added Moore.

She pointed out that a number of statutory boards had not been adhering to the provisions of the Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2004-25, which harmonized the retirement age in the public sector with that under the National Insurance Scheme.

“The BWU has never advanced a position that there would be no layoffs and where proposals have been made to vary the retirement arrangements of public workers or workers in the private sector for that matter, the BWU has managed to negotiate and agree to the conclusions reached,” Moore said in a statement today.

The Barbados Secondary Teachers Union (BSTU) has also instructed its members to join in next week’s mass protest.

President Mary Redman said her union supports the NUPW in its principled stand against the recent actions of the BIDC, actions, which, she said, infringed the rights of the “forcibly” retired members of that organization.

Redman also said those actions clearly demonstrated disrespect and contempt for trade unions in this country and underscored BIDC’s total disregard for the voluntary approach that drives industrial relations in the island.

Barbados Secondary Teachers Union President Mary Redman,
Barbados Secondary Teachers Union President Mary Redman,

“The BSTU is saying enough is enough and is encouraging members to assemble at Queen’s Park at 8.30 [a.m.] on Monday to demonstrate our abhorrence of these attitudes and behaviours on the part of the BIDC; of abhorrence of the disrespect consistently meted out to workers of Barbados who are the drivers of this economy,” added the BSTU leader.

Meanwhile, the Barbados Private Sector Association has expressed strong concern over the prospect of a national shutdown.

“Most private sector businesses interact daily with several Government agencies and any withdrawal of services and or labour, will negatively affect business activity,” said BPSA Chief Executive Officer Anne Reid.

“Industrial action of the nature proposed has the potential to ultimately affect the capacity of the private sector effort to lead growth, which is of vital importance to our nation,” she warned.

Following a breakdown of talks this week at the level of the Minister of Industry and Commerce, the BPSA therefore strongly urged both parties to return to dialogue and or mediation in order that their dispute could be resolved.

emmanueljoseph@barbadostoday.bb

10 Responses to NUPW gets union backing

  1. Andrew The Voice July 4, 2015 at 7:25 am

    have we heard ANYTHING from the persons whom they are striking for?
    Whats their position on all this?
    See the unions grand standing, but havent heard from the people themselves?? just asking.

    Reply
  2. Patrick Blackman July 4, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Toni Moore, Akanni McDowall and Mary Redman do you expect us to believe that this planned action is in support of your memebers? You are fully aware that this BIDC issue requires a legal opinion (Pensions Act)to be resolved, of what benefit then is your planned action to the resolution of this issue? Should this jejune action proceed on Monday, Monday will be forever remembered as the day trade unionism died in B’dos. Your call for this action exhibits an economy of eruditeness and errant behaviour.

    Reply
  3. Patrick Blackman July 4, 2015 at 9:11 am

    “memebers” should be members

    Reply
  4. dave July 4, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Patrick Patrick Patrick !
    You need to deal with facts and not fantasy

    Andrew !
    The representatives of the affected workers have spoken
    Also remember that the workers have also engage the services of an attorney at law. If they were satisfied as the minister and
    his yardfowls indicate, why would they retain a lawyer in a addition to the Union. This Government is a bad one !

    Reply
  5. Jus me July 4, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Pata Patrick
    If We apply the same logic to
    Governing of Barbados

    Must be longlong dead

    Reply
  6. dave July 4, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Mary Redman . Roslyn Smith, Delcia Burke , Toni Moore Wilma Clement -GIRL POWER RULES !

    Reply
  7. Patrick Blackman July 4, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    @dave – As I have said before, the only relevant issue here is an interpretation of the Pensions Act and the authority vested in the BIDC board, the NUPW has already indicated that this is a matter that would have to be decided in the courts, the minister also said that the government is prepared to take it to court, so what other facts do you need to know?

    You have constantly required facts from me and I have provided the same to you, what else is there you want to hear? What is this fantasy you are eluding to?

    This strike action is neotenic and reflects the calibre of management of these unions.

    Reply
  8. Patrick Blackman July 4, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    @Jus me – We cannot apply the same logic to the governing of B’dos, the dynamics are completely different. This action on Monday is about a show of power to bring the country to a halt. Striking for the sake of power tripping is meaningless, the power of a union lies in its abilities to skillfully negotiate with an opposing party and reach a good settlement for its members.

    On Tuesday morning life will continue, the 13 will still be at home and government will still be addressing this issue in the law courts. @dave has failed to realize the potential impact should this matter reach the law courts on labour relations in B’dos. There is logic and then there is logical.

    Reply
  9. dave July 4, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Well Patrick ! you are wrong when you said

    “This strike action is neotenic and reflects the calibre of management of these unions.”

    “@dave has failed to realize the potential impact should this matter reach the law courts on labour relations in B’dos. There is logic and then there is logical.”

    @dave – As I have said before, the only relevant issue here is an interpretation of the Pensions Act and the authority vested in the BIDC board,

    There is no interpretation of the law problem
    The problem is more a rejection of the law by the Government; Donville Inniss and the BIDC–Straight !! Go and read the amendments Mr. Patrick Blackman . Do your research. I am not going to do it for you -LOL !!!

    Reply
  10. Patrick Blackman July 4, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    @dave – sorry but how can you be even more dense than you normally are… an “interpretation of the Pensions Act and the authority vested in the BIDC board” by the court.

    Reply

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