Less combative NUPW insists workers deserve pay rise

There was a gentler, less militant, more conciliatory tone today from President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall as he emerged from a round of negotiations with Government for wage increases for public servants.

While he remained firm that the workers deserve a hike for which the union would continue to press, gone from his vocabulary was the tough language he had used in the past when the union sought to pressure the Freundel Stuart administration back to the negotiating table.

Instead, McDowall was measured and in a mood to compromise, even telling Barbados TODAY that Government’s initial offer of zero per cent was not disrespectful.

“The Government came with zero per cent and we started at 23 per cent and this is not unusual because in salary negotiations the Government usually starts at zero per cent. So it wasn’t anything disrespectful to the union because that is how it has happened over the years.

“So they will have to now write us officially on the matter and we would respond and say what our position is and they would come back with a counter offer. We are of the view that public servants deserve a salary increase and we are resolute in our position and we are not going to change our mind from that,” the union leader said.

The NUPW met with Government negotiators at the Personnel Administration Division under the chairmanship of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of the Civil Service Alyson Forte for about two hours this morning, in what McDowall later described as “cordial” talks.

The trade unionist told Barbados TODAY the two sides began the day a long way apart, but by the conclusion of talks at about noon, “both parties seemed amenable to finding a compromise”.

“The meeting was cordial and the union was able to show the Government the evidence as to why a salary increase was due to the workers. I believe that our side would have been able to put a strong enough case for them to go back to the Prime Minister and ask for a different position to the one they came with.”

McDowall has come in for criticism from Government and even from within his own union for demanding a 23 per cent increase.

The union’s Deputy General-Treasurer Roy Greenidge, who tomorrow will seek to wrest the presidency from McDowall in internal elections, has denounced the double-digit pay demand as “unreasonable and ridiculous”.

Meantime, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has made it clear that given the economic uncertainty facing the country, the Stuart administration simply could not afford to give civil servants a pay rise, even though workers had not received an increase in nine years.

However, McDowall has insisted that the union was reasonable, and that Government can afford to pay, citing as proof, the recent vote in Parliament to restore the ten per cent that was cut from the salaries of parliamentarians and senior public servants in 2014 at the height of austerity.

10 Responses to Less combative NUPW insists workers deserve pay rise

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall April 5, 2017 at 4:47 am

    Keep focus, this is the first time in about 15yr government workers is hearing a voice representing them. Go and win your election. God on your side.

  2. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd April 5, 2017 at 7:02 am


  3. Sisleen Green April 5, 2017 at 7:18 am

    Encouraging all N.U.P.W Members to go and cast your votes for Team Akanni.
    We want no traitors to lead us, let them go and negotiate for those dishonest reprobates, Maloney, Clarke and Alleyne.

  4. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore April 5, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Govt & union met, no settlement reached. The former remains at 0, the latter still at 23, A great gulf fixed. No date given for the next meeting. Soon we’ll be thrown into the budget debate & soon thereafter Crop Over. The next big thing would be Independence followed by Christmas. After this a bitter election campaign. By this time govt would have moved up to 1 & the union down to 20. The criticism directed against you was designed to make you less combative. This results in a more drawn out process. Up the thing man. To the union i say this, know who’s your enemy & study his plan. I speak of none other than PM Stuart. Study it.

  5. Sylvie April 5, 2017 at 8:21 am

    This is the first time that the NUPW had such an​ upstart as a President, one who is serving two Masters and needs to be replaced as soon as possible

    • hcalndre April 5, 2017 at 9:29 am

      @Sylvia, Replaced by a house negro? Read Malcolm X and understand the house negroes` mentality and see if you can fit into that category with your thinking.

    • hcalndre April 5, 2017 at 9:40 am

      @Sylvia: have you forgotten or did not know when Ronald Jones the MO Ed., act as PM, he had a job with the b`dos football, the Caribbean football, how many hats were they?

  6. Sylvie April 5, 2017 at 8:24 am

    No good can come from this President he is holding two jobs !!!Such should never happen.

  7. Geoff Small April 5, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    15 years without a raise in pay is ridiculous. I am sure the
    15 years without a wage increase is ridiculous. I am sure the
    economy was better at that time. It seems that the Union was
    quite docile and useless during that time. When economies are
    doing well that is when wage demands are usually asked for by unions. However, this does not seem the right time in a downturn economy to go after wages that seems like a catch up demand for pass years. They are proposals on the table and to get to agreement negotiators will have to move away from their opening proposals and move towards the centre. I suspect the inflation rate maybe the negotiated settlement The election being around the corner will prompt the government to act. That’s how I see anyway. Please beware that when you get a wage increase the employer looks at several ways to recoup that money
    Mr McDowall, your attitude seem to have mellowed but this might be a little too late.

  8. lime juice April 5, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    If Roy Greenidge become the president of the NUPW he will be going straight to bed with the government and that is what thee yard fowls waiting for.


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