NUPW to begin industrial action over pay demand

With Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler admitting today that Government had not taken a position on whether or not civil servants would get a pay rise this financial year, the country’s largest public sector union is saying enough is enough.

The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) General Council this afternoon voted to begin industrial action in a bid to force the Freundel Stuart administration back to the negotiating table.

Sinckler did not make provisions for salary increases for Government workers in the 2017-2018 Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue, and in leading off debate on the new financial package in Parliament today, he scoffed at suggestions that the NUPW was prepared to mount industrial action to pressure Government to give in to its demands for a 23 per cent wage hike. The Barbados Workers Union has demanded a 15 per cent increase.

“All of the talk we are hearing about salary increase for public servants and the union want to strike because nobody ain’t talking to them and all that . . . this rush yuh brush, ‘let’s have a strike approach to industrial relations’ as far that particular union is concerned . . . . We haven’t come to a conclusion on salary increases in Barbados for public servants,” Sinckler said.

However, the Minister of Finance insisted that while no agreement had been reached on a pay rise, public servants would indeed take home larger pay cheques because of $58 million to be paid in increments.

This is unlikely to placate the NUPW, which has complained that while its members had not received a pay rise in nearly a decade, Government legislators all but gave themselves a ten per cent increase recently when they restored the monies cut from the salaries in 2014 at the height of austerity.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY following the meeting at the union’s headquarters in Dalkeith Road, St Michael, NUPW President Akanni McDowall said his members’ patience had run out and “Government’s disrespect for the workers and the union would no longer be tolerated”.

“What we were asking today is for Government to meet with us to continue negotiations. We have been trying to meet with Government since October last year and Government has quite frankly refused to meet, despite the number of correspondence we would have sent to the Ministry. Council met today and Council decided to take industrial action in order to get Government back to the table,” McDowall said.

However the NUPW boss was tight-lipped on the form on action the union would take, or when protest action would begin, although he said it would be “as soon as possible”.

“As you know we don’t go into details, but Council has said that we have to do it as soon as possible in order to bring them back to the table,” he said.

The union boss contended that even though it was not the NUPW’s intention to disrupt a country in economic turmoil, Government must show a willingness to reach an understanding with civil servants, who have not had a pay increase since 2008.

“They [Government] have to at least be willing to talk; we don’t negotiate in the media. We have heard things been bandied about and we can’t depend on those things. We have sit and look at all the facts in order to make a decision.

“I just hope that common sense will prevail and Government will call a meeting as soon as possible. Our role is not to disrupt the country, our role is to ensure that we maintain a harmonious industrial relationship with Government, but if Government is going to disrespect the union then we will do what we have to do,” McDowall stressed.

While the NUPW president was confident that the planned industrial action would force Government to the negotiating table, he did not rule out an all-out strike.

“Very seldom would we take industrial action and don’t get a response because we know what we are doing. But if it comes to that then we do whatever is necessary to make sure that they come to the table,” he stressed.


16 Responses to NUPW to begin industrial action over pay demand

  1. Johnathan March 14, 2017 at 3:42 am

    This is a disrespectful government period and needs to be disrespected in return. They have NEVER given civil servants a pay increase since they were in my ffice but they had to have theirs. Just to remind all government workers that they have the power to change the government and that they should do

  2. David E Hall
    David E Hall March 14, 2017 at 6:37 am

    I agree that the issue needs to be brought to the fore. if the government has decided that Public workers cannot get a raise then it needs to come out and say so rather than dance around the issue and when someone else makes a definitive decision about no raise or only a small one then they try to back raise them.

  3. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn March 14, 2017 at 7:54 am

    These politicians think that all black people ignorant. You telling the civil servants to hold strain. Things tight ,but yet still you all take back your 10 percent. Those things ain’t right at all.Most you already got rich. Why not give back the people the 2 percent Vat.

    • James Austin Bynoe
      James Austin Bynoe March 14, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Bajan voters were ignorant in the last election :::: not all their fault )) fact not fiction.

      The question is how many ignorant voters left? We will see in the next election.

      Noting some truly ignorant comments here on fb. Some people still drinking that dlp “it’s not our fault” koolaid

    • Michael Turton
      Michael Turton March 14, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      It history repeating itself, the Sandiford Government increased their pay then hit public workers with the 8%. A lack of integrity by the ministers and who are also conversant that they will lose power are making things right for their pension. This restoration is quite insensitive at this time but the fact is there is no money for pay increases.

  4. Bajan First March 14, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Why don’t the Ministry of Finance and the Government agree to the demands of the National Union of Public Works – 20+% increase then go to the MIF for the funds to pay for the increase! They will of course have stipulations! Probably a devaluation which would bring the Barbados dollar in line with that of our neighbour, Trinidad! The unions would have pleased their members so who cares! The Government would fall and the BLP wold have the power and the yard fouls will all rejoice if only for a moment, before the impact of the devastation resulting from the devaluation caused by the NUPW victory is felt throughout the length and breath of this nation, which we all claim to love so much! Too late, we would have had our opportunity to use the mistakes of the United States electorate to guide us but greed, shortsightedness and politics would have been allowed to blind us!

  5. sticks and stones March 14, 2017 at 9:12 am

    The NUPW are a greedy bunch expecting govt to do the impossible in a situation where the govt is struggling to make end meets. The union ought to be ashamed of their preceive actions to push govt backs against the wall against the country’s best interest
    So far govt has been holding steadfast to the best interest of accomdating households to having jobs as reflected in the employment numbers and in so doing has been harrased for that commitment

    • hcalndre March 14, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      @sticks and stones, tell the truth who is the greedy bunch, for 8 years the civil servants have not got a penny on their salary, that caring greedy bunch could not live the life style that they born with so they ask to have the 10% reinstated although they have all the freebies, while the workers and their families have to pay bills, go to the super markets, pay 17.5% vat with the same wages for the last 8 years and you have this idiotic idea that the civil servants are a greedy bunch. That`s a slave mentality that you still have in 2017.

  6. Mariam Makeba
    Mariam Makeba March 14, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I don’t think the country can afford to give workers an increase of any sort. so why reinstate your ten percent. They have found themselves in this position because they are greedy and sellfish

  7. The People of Barbados March 14, 2017 at 11:40 am

    @sticks and stones, i agree with you 150 percent. What about appointments for the temporary workers, The union wants a pay increase for civil servants but at what cost. The country is in a crisis and the government has no money, Yes they gave themselves back the 10 percent but that is a small number compared to asking for millions of dollars in salary increase for over 20 thousands public servants. I wonder if the NUPW rather all temps officers go home so they the appointed elite can have their pay raise.

  8. Ras Unjay
    Ras Unjay March 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm


  9. Rubertha Blackman
    Rubertha Blackman March 14, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I don’t think we can afford the increase right now to be frank, but I also don’t think that any government minister deserves a salary either.

  10. Boyce Jr Angus
    Boyce Jr Angus March 14, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    U see he nasty face doh?stupess…….Barbados can afford ta pay political jackasses fa doing nothing but sinking we ship doh..smh

  11. Bajan Positve Brian
    Bajan Positve Brian March 14, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Clearly Barbados is struggling and do not have money. What would industrial action accomplish?

  12. James Franks March 14, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    NUPW. Give Chris a chance to persuade the Central Bank to print some more money to pay the wages .

  13. Sandor Barker
    Sandor Barker March 14, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    NUPW, the best union we have in Barbados at the moment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *