Last chance

NUPW eager for word on public sector pay hike

The Freundel Stuart administration has been given “one last chance” to return to the negotiating table to discuss the protracted salary increase for civil servants, says President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall.

Following a two-hour meeting with public sector employees at the union’s Dalkeith, St Michael headquarters Friday afternoon, McDowall told reporters his members had taken strong exception to the vote by parliamentarians this week to restore their salaries and that of other senior Government officers who had taken a ten per cent cut back in 2014 at the height
of austerity.

Members of the NUPW’s top brass emerging from their meeting with public workers Friday at the Horatio Cooke Auditorium, NUPW headquarters.
From left, Assistant General Secretary Delcia Burke, Treasurer Asokore Beckles, President Akanni McDowall and 2nd Vice President Fabian Jones.

Amid an ongoing wage freeze for civil servants, who have not enjoyed a pay hike since 2009, despite having higher taxes and a higher cost of living, McDowall said the workers also made it clear they were no longer interested in any dialogue, only firm action in support of their pay demands.

The NUPW is currently seeking a 23 per cent rise for Government workers.

However, to date there has been no firm agreement on the matter with both NUPW officials and their members seemingly anxious for a resumption of the wage talks, which have been suspended since last October.

In fact, while Friday afternoon’s meeting was attended by fewer than 100 workers, NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith said the level of frustration expressed was “as if we had ten thousand people in there this afternoon.

“It is a thread that goes right through the public service where persons have been disadvantaged for so long that even if you had one person, they would bring the feelings of all the members of the public service,” she explained.

And though not ruling out the possibility of industrial action, McDowall assured that “as a responsible union what we would do is make sure that the process is followed to give Government one more opportunity to come back to the table because we want to follow the process, despite what people might say”.

The union president was however unwilling to go into details on the actual proposals that have been left on the table, even though he suggested that the NUPW would be willing to accept a reasonable compromise.

“What we will not do is throw out the baby with the bath water. We will ask for whatever is reasonable for Government to give,” he said.

Earlier this week, McDowall had joined President of Unity Workers’ Union Caswell Franklyn in crying shame on the Government’s move to restore the pay of the senior officials, with Franklyn calling on Barbadians to hold the Freundel Stuart administration accountable for “their insensitivity to the workers of the country”.

“What has happened to people from National Housing Corporation that have not gotten back a cent after they were sent home? They are talking about getting back their ten per cent but what about those people who lost 100 per cent? These people are unconscionable and that should be their resignation.

“Barbados should rise up against this nonsense but Barbadians are too docile. These people got no shame whatsoever. They are basically uncaring and unfeeling, money grabbing bunch of people. They should be ashamed,” an upset Franklyn said at the time.

And just yesterday, the umbrella Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) added its voice to the public debate over the matter, saying it viewed the Government’s decision to restore the ten per cent as a clear indication that the economy was performing at such a level that it could afford an increase for public sector workers.

“So we are looking at it from the point of view that if that can happen, then as unions we expect that when we go forward that we would suitably be able to get an increase,” CTUSAB President Cedric Murrell said in support of the call for higher wages.

4 Responses to Last chance

  1. Kim Marshall January 28, 2017 at 9:14 am

    It is interesting to hear parliamentarians talk about having mortgages to pay and having responsibilities, etc. like people of Barbados don’t have the same things to do. Do people that in many cases get many thousands of dollars per month in salaries have the audacity to compare their financial “burden” with the average civil servant and person that works for less than $1000 a week?!
    The vote was not only to restore their 10% but also to get back all money they “sacrificed” during the period of time that they said they would make this 10% “sacrifice” for the country.

    Now we hear that they technically really never made a sacrifice as they will receive essentially get all of that money back and workers are suppose to smile and nod their heads in agreement. Can you imagine receiving the kind of lump sums of money that they will receive when they receive all of what they were not previously paid and you ask us to consider your financial burdens?
    I am sorry but I was not educated to simply smile, nod and accept everything I am told. I see nothing wrong in saying, “It looks like you have hundreds of thousands to give back to yourselves so is this not a clear indication that you can return to the negotiation table and explain why a pay increase, in some form or fashion is not possible for the rest of us at this time as well, and if not, why the hell not?

  2. Troy January 28, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    If this administration don’t be careful….God forbid it’s gonna be 1937 all over again. They feel that bajans stupid. But we can only take so much

  3. Sherlock Holmes. January 28, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Troy them is seditious words be very careful hear,alright.

  4. Sherlock Holmes. January 28, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    Wait tell me something,this isn’t the same man that was up in arms about being reverted to his original post and mek all kinds of noise he and his comrades? What did it boil down to? Wanting more money,the irony of these situations are laughable and was he not paid in full for time served or not served? I just asking cause to me there is hardly much difference in the two scenarios. This union is on a path of implosion especially with Chucky Schummer at it’s helm.


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