We will not be bullied – McDowall

National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) President Akanni McDowall is sticking to his guns on issues relating to Customs Officers and says that the union will not be bullied into anything but the best for those workers.

As he emphasized the union’s stance against any “detrimental” conditions for Customs workers in Government’s attempt to absorb them into the Barbados Revenue Authority, McDowall told those attending Thursday’s opening of his union’s 73rd conference that the executive is still open to talks.

Speaking at the NUPW’s Dalkeith headquarters, McDowall said that his organization “continues to be open for discussions and negotiations about how best to streamline and improve our various public service functions,” but stressed, “we will never be open to the outright bullying tactics and disrespect for the process of consensus building and partnerships”.

With elections for a new union boss scheduled for early next month, McDowall outlined for members the many successes of his term in office, and spoke of an accomplishment in ensuring that Customs Officers are not integrated into the Barbados Revenue Authority “in a manner that would be detrimental to them”.

He said, “there is a need for reform in the Customs Department however, the union remains unconvinced that housing of the Customs Department under the Barbados Revenue Authority is the most [suitable] arrangement”.

“Until the Customs Officers of Barbados can be guaranteed tenure, and the various issues and other concerns are ironed out the union will stand hand in hand with its primary stakeholders, the worker, in articulating and agitating for answers to their concerns,” McDowall said.

Putting into context the NUPW’s demand for a 23 per cent salary increase for its 9,000 members, McDowall said that the public service has changed with added responsibilities at every level of service, with some added tasks not officially included in their job descriptions.

“They have been taking on these tasks in good faith for the benefit of our country,” he said, and added, “the economic fallout in Barbados has added another layer to the work of public servants”.

He reminded the audience that public service posts were frozen as a 2014 cost cutting measure.

“The result is that persons have been doubling, sometimes tripling, and sometimes quadrupling on tasks.”

Further, he said that many of these officers are working without adequate resources.

“Public servants who once considered themselves middle-class are struggling to pay mortgages and buy food,” he said, explaining that in some cases they are having to choose between buying food and paying the mortgage.

McDowall said that the union cannot ignore these issues, and spoke of a need to rekindle the economy, empower workers with disposable income to invest, and create spending power. (GA)


17 Responses to We will not be bullied – McDowall

  1. Ras Unjay
    Ras Unjay March 25, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Yah running de union like a political party

  2. jrsmith March 25, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Mr, Mcdowall , you better be sure of what you are doing and risking, hoping that you are not only managing the party , but hoping you are in control…………………………………………..
    You are risking been brought down by lots of trade union members playing the party political games , these members cannot be trusted and they wouldn’t allow you to challenge they party, they support their parties at all cost, thats why nothing is working in barbados…
    Party politics is going to bring barbados to its knees, thats why we are constantly being used by foreign companies……

  3. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba March 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm


  4. Observer March 25, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    A bunch of chickens,keep on doing what you are doing my brother and stay strong

  5. Lorenzo March 25, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Ras Unjay and Michelle Griffith having read several of your comments it is clear you are Dems and everything this Government does is fine with both of you.What is wrong with Mr McDowall as president of the NUPW fighting for his workers?Others before him went along with everything Tell me what is the problem?

    • hcalndre March 26, 2017 at 6:58 am

      Lorenzo, just like you I have read the comments of those and others. If they are union members they should stand up and let the others know that they are operatives of the DEMS and that they are more than satisfied with their present salary. They probably have forgotten that the same DEMS could not wait a little longer to have the 10% that was in an escrow returned to them. But I will always say that the House negro would always feel the pain of their oppressors and in this case they felt the pain of the party waiting for the 10% while these workers have been holding on for 8 long years. Brother Mc Dowell don`t fold like a cheap umbrella.

  6. Sherlock Holmes. March 25, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    You have to be a Dem to be able to identify a clown when you see one? Here he is speaking about bullying or so the headline indicates as i do not really read anything pertaining to this joker and from the time he took the presidency of this union it has descended into chaos with his bullying and politically inspired tactics . I maintain the position the he is too immature for this post and needs proper guidance in the mechanics of unionism, i don’t give a hoot about political parties i speak against both when i have to but i know folly when i see it and he is a proponent of pure folly. When his party takes the helm of this country if they so do he will be a toothless tiger and the workers will be the ones who will suffer if they have any major grievances that will require proper union representation.Let the games begin.

  7. Lorenzo March 25, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Sherlock Holmes what rubbish you talking.The previous President was a known supporter of this administration which you also support based on your comments therefore all was well with you.Mr McDowall has a duty to fight for the workers he represents and I hope he does not lose his focus in light of negative comments from Dems like you.

  8. The Rock March 25, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Like how the workers suffered when his predecessors were at the helm. Stupse. Shut up Sherlock. The NUPW was run by DEMS for years. Where were you?

  9. Ernesta Catlyn March 25, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Tell me this: if there are still MAJOR challenges with getting the 200 odd persons who transitioned to BRA, along with the approximate 100 or more ‘new’ members of staff settled, how will another 300 odd Customs Officers joining, bring about professionalism or stability? I am sure close to 100, could be more, persons left the BRA once their 2-year seconded period was finished. The stories from those that left aren’t pretty and the stories from those who are still there because they could not leave (they were not appointed in the public service) are even less pretty. Please get BRA right before incorporating another 300 kicking and screaming persons.

  10. Ernesta Catlyn March 25, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Sherlock Holmes, the present Democratic Labour Party members were basically all neophytes when they came to office. Being young and immature is not the problem in and of itself – it is whether you are prepared to listen and learn. The majority of the DLP members, it is obvious, were and are not prepared to sit at anyone’s feet and be guided. Cast you mind back, if you care to, to some of the early statements made by the likes of Donville, Chris, Sealy, Lashley, et al and observe the level of arrogance. I also agree that Akanni made some early mistakes, but I also know that he has been seeking advise from trusted person. Sometimes we mistake confidence for arrogance – one of the difference lies in whether you are prepared to read, mark and inwardly digest and act where necessary on suggestions made by others

  11. shawn March 26, 2017 at 7:49 am

    its about time somebody step. up and represent the workers because for. too long the unions were in bed with the government. neither of them stuck up for. the workers and that in itself has cost the unions members. So fight the good fight Mr. McDowell

  12. Vad50 March 26, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    National Union of Public Workers is really getting out of hand. why don’t you discipline your workers that sit around and do nothing. Customers stand in line waiting for service; while they some of them talk with each other. I am tired of your griping and wining. There are quite a number of your public workers that needs to go home; and open space for more efficient and productive workers.

    • Sherlock Holmes. March 26, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      Starting with the HC and i don’t mean Harrison College,VAD50.

  13. Lorenzo March 27, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Sherlock Holmes I notice you have not responded to the allegation that the Unions were run by Dems so were you in Barbados?Therefore what is your problem with Mr McDowall? On another note heard a caller arguing that if you get two Downgrades from two different agencies saying the same thing it is only one Downgrade.this is utter nonsence,he was followed by Ms Decided who really talks so much nonsense she ought to be banned from call in programmes.Then the Trini lady talking about the good wicket inherited by the BLP in 1994 nothing to do with the leadership skills of Mr Arthur and although it is true that Sir Lloyd Sandiford took tough decisions the questionto be asked of her is who put us in the difficult situation?


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