Ex president slams NUPW leadership; rejects 23 per cent pay demand

The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), under the leadership of Akanni McDowall, has been given a failing grade by former president Walter Maloney, who suggests the island’s largest public sector union has lost its way.

Delivering the ruling Democratic Labour Party’s (DLP) lunchtime lecture ahead of next Wednesday’s NUPW ballot, in which McDowall faces a serious challenge from Deputy General-Treasurer Roy Greenidge for the presidency, Maloney was highly critical of the current union executive.

In fact, he charged that the new NUPW vanguard had destroyed in one fell swoop the mutual respect between the trade union and Government, which he said had taken over 70 years to build.

The former president, who has himself been accused of acting in a partisan manner and was tipped to take up a diplomatic post within the current administration after demitting the presidency two years ago, lamented that the current industrial relations climate in the country was one of acrimony and chaos, spurred on by “crass party political action” on the part of the present NUPW leadership.

“We would have taken 76 years to develop relationships within the public service. So under my tenure and before, we never marched up and down because the relationship with the permanent secretaries at the time was such that they would call if there was a problem, so that we could solve it before it got out of hand,” he told the gathering of DLP supporters at the party’s George Street headquarters.

He stressed that while the union had focused in the past on developing its relationship with Government, “what we see now, it comes over as if they [NUPW] are attacking senior public servants” and “the relationship that was there seems to have soured so much now that it appears to me that the closeness and trust is no longer there”.

As for the union’s demand for a 23 per cent pay hike for public workers, Maloney dismissed it as “ridiculous and unrealistic”, saying there were other important issues “we need as a collective body to address.

“We are focusing on areas like salary increases, which is not a bad area, but it becomes a very ignorant area if you are going to be asking for increases that make no sense,” the former NUPW president said.

“When you negotiate you look at other areas, because getting an increase is not the only thing the union is supposed to be looking at, we need to talk about social protection for the workers and health. These things allow persons to save money as well. It is not about getting the extra $100 in your pay packet. So yes, I have great difficulty with what I am seeing now,” Maloney insisted.

He also said while many people were lauding the militancy of the union’s youthful leadership, such action may actually prove to be counter productive in the long run.

“I am really not happy. I have heard some commentators say that the union has become more militant but it seems as though they do not know the definition of militancy. If militancy is everyday you walk around Broad Street chanting and at the end of that there is nothing tangible to show for it, then I think that is misplaced militancy… All we hear everyday in media is about somebody planning to take some action but the trade union movement is made up of more than that,” he stressed.

Just last weekend, Minister of Education Ronald Jones harshly criticized the NUPW over the participation of some of its executives in a recent Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP)-sponsored national march against the Freundel Stuart Government’s handling of the economy.

Jones, who had suggested at the time that the NUPW leaders “could as well call themselves Team BLP”, was strongly backed up by Government Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, who also accused the union of disrespecting the Prime Minister.

However, McDowall has rejected those positions out of hand in much the same way that he rejected outspoken Government Minister Donville Inniss’ suggestion that the union’s 23 per cent wage demand was downright unreasonable.

The NUPW president maintains that workers, who have been made to hold strain for the past eight to nine years, are deserving of an increase. He has therefore warned that while a compromise may be in order, the union is not about to forfeit its demands for a pay hike.


16 Responses to Ex president slams NUPW leadership; rejects 23 per cent pay demand

  1. Anne Ince
    Anne Ince April 1, 2017 at 12:28 am

    Maloney you yard fowl…shut up . you and Greenidge….smh.

  2. Sandra Madea
    Sandra Madea April 1, 2017 at 12:34 am


  3. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore April 1, 2017 at 1:28 am

    If you had stood up for the NUPW membership while serving as its President, your mouthings would be deserving of at lease an ear (one). Yours would long be remembered as the duo of union leadership that sold the workers out, before & after the 2013 elections. That you spoke against the backdrop of a DLP banner is no coincidence as you were always perceived to be sympathetic to the admin. While agreeing that the 23% is way off chart, the membership today do feel as though it is being represented unlike during your tenure.

  4. Angus Benn
    Angus Benn April 1, 2017 at 2:20 am

    Maloney you talking from a political point a view. It look as though you get paid to talk. You sell out your own black brothers and sisters for 8 peaces of silver.

  5. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall April 1, 2017 at 4:38 am

    You now got mouth when the 3000 went home you went dumb.you and the general secretary hand held high with David in front page of the papers, members received no representation but you promoted that surprised some of you colleagues.
    Visit management officer sell out the members, the union members now fell like workers that would be represented under the leadership of McDowell, Me Smith, Me Burke and Mr Waldron. So back to sleep .

  6. Mariam Makeba
    Mariam Makeba April 1, 2017 at 4:53 am

    Man shut ya blasted mout do! Ya want he to concentrate on de things dat did of importance to you ? All de perks you enjoyed and tek advantage of at de expense of de members.

  7. Ricci Khan April 1, 2017 at 7:15 am

    A 23% wage increase, calling workers off their jobs to attend meetings during working hours, calling teachers to meetings during School hours, shutting down the Island when lazy workers eventually get fired is downright unreasonable stupidity.

  8. NOLAN HALL April 1, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Dr Tennison Josephs’ prediction that “in the months ahead, some pitched battles will be fought in the bosom of the Barbados trade union movement as a prelude to the coming electoral battle”, appears to be coming to pass. He made that prediction based on comments made in 2015 by trade unionist and former DLP minister Robert Morris , that one can always tell when a government is going to fall, based on the level of anti-government trade union agitation. But “given the relative quiescence of the trade union movement during the DLP’s first term he never doubted the possibility of a DLP victory in 2013.

    The word quiescence comes from the Latin “quiescere”, to become quiet. Quiescence suggests a temporary cessation of
    activity. Is that what Moloney , Ronald Jones – two former trade unionist – suggesting that the unions should do? I hope that never happen.

  9. hcalndre April 1, 2017 at 9:05 am

    @ Walter Maloney: It`s now clear that you and the previous Union leaders were always operates of the DLP and after you have lay in bed (Classic`s calypso) with them, when you should be representing the workers. When you all retire or resign you`re all compensated by the party. Although you were no longer represented the Union, you were invited to a seminar or something of the sort when it should have been Mc Dowall, and if you had any respect for the Union you would have decline and let them know that you were not the person to do so. Talking about walking up and down and threatening, do you remember when these words were said that they are going to “Call out Swan street and Broad street” and using racist remarks to a store owner because of his ethnicity. Then Sandy Lane workers after been misled walk off the job too and that was it for them, whose watch was that? Take what ever rewards you gets for your loyalty to the party and let Mc Dowall get on with representing the workers.

  10. lime juice April 1, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    It is interesting that all of the previous leaders and general secretaries of trade unions in Barbados were supporters of the DLP and now them yard fowls keep picking at Mc Dowall just because he walk with Mia against all thee foolishness that is happening in this country. Mr. Mc Dowall I give you credit yuh right.

  11. Ernesta Catlyn April 1, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    If you want persons to perceive you as credible and honest, then you have to demonstrate these qualities in thought, word and deed. If you were any statesman or gentleman, then when the Minister of (Can never get it right) Labour indicated that sending your name to be appointed to the Severance Payment Board was an error – and acknowledged that it should have been the office of the President of the NUPW – then you would have removed yourself. Some persons in this island really have gall, bitter gall.

  12. Nathaniel Samuels April 1, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    Maloney, I am not a member of any union but your previous team sold out the members and now that this team has made some representation of the workers, you are probably ashamed of the role you played when you had the opportunity to do the right thing for the workers. Just keep going to the lunch time lectures and getting your belly full with the drivel that is served up every Friday. I guess you deserve that anyway.

  13. Tony Webster April 1, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    I long, long ago, have had my doubts of the ability,band sincerity of those at the top of our unions (plural,mplease) Why oh why, am I forced to recall that our people have been sold out before; put in chains; and thence in ships, which sailed that horrific middle passage?

    Who gine carry the blame and shame this time? Phew! This is not just a potential conflict of interest, it is a scandalous, flagrant exhibition of callous indifference to ones fellow-man. Deja Vu..on steroids!

    And the shame rests not only on the speaker referenced….but those who gave him their podium…and associated odium!!

    • Jennifer April 1, 2017 at 6:24 pm

      @Tony – be careful you are not labelled as racist now.

  14. Saga Boy April 2, 2017 at 4:45 am

    How can Maloney be accused of selling out a union when what he did was to ensure that there was stability in the economy? This is what was done by the social partnership in the 1990s. We have a pack of lazy laid back unproductive public servants who do not care where the money will come from to pay their increases wages. And then there are those of you who hate the DLP so bad that you would do anything that would ensure the economy fails. This is a democracy and Mr.Maloney is free to express his views. In times of recessions the BWU tempers the wage demands and will ask for between 10 to 15 percent increase . It is unreasonable to ask for 23 percent at this time. We need to put country beyond the politics. Any increase at this time will put the country under pressure to the point of a devaluation. If the BLP wins the next elections this will not change. We will still have a people whose lifestyles have gotten us to this stage. Our appetite for foreign as opposed to local goods continue to impact the economy negatively.

  15. Troy April 2, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Maloney….you just jealous that the young man has made more of an impact in such a short time period than for all the years that you were there. It’s his time now so shut your trap and let the people get on with the business at hand…..by the way did you ever sign up for the NUPW medical plan as yet? You promised to do so a million times as president but to date no application can be find with your name on it.


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