NUPW left out of economic consultations

The island’s largest public sector union Monday accused Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of treating it with “scant respect”.

The charge was levelled by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) in a statement issued to Barbados TODAY, after it was left out of tripartite economic consultations last week.

In fact, the union said it was only made aware late last week via the news media that the Prime Minister and other top officials of his Government had met with leaders of its sister union – the Barbados Workers Union  – and the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations (CTUSAB), as well as the local private sector, to discuss the findings of two Social Partnership committees, which were mandated by Stuart on March 3 to make recommendations on the way forward for the economy.

In a statement issued by the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) last Thursday, the Prime Minister warned of the need for immediate corrective action, with the island’s 2-to-1 peg with the US dollar already showing cracks, and an all-out balance of payments crisis now a possibility given that Government’s debt rose above 110 per cent of gross domestic product at the end of last year, while international reserves fell to $682 million, the lowest level since 2009.

He also called for urgent consideration to be given to the future of three key state enterprises — the loss-making Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Barbados Transport Board and the Sanitation Service Authority, which now appear destined for the proverbial official chopping block.

While describing Tuesday’s tripartite discussions as “frank and robust”, Stuart also said the vital importance of dialogue among all stakeholders at all stages of the process towards solutions of the fiscal deficit and foreign exchange problems was stressed and advised that, in this vein, meetings of the Social Partnership will be taking place over time on specific matters.

However, the NUPW has deemed it “extremely ironic” that the Prime Minister would speak about the concerns of the Social Partnership being imperative, while “completely disregarding the NUPW, the premier public sector labour organization in Barbados, from being part of the composition of either of the committees, that presumably have deliberated over matters which directly impact on the livelihood of thousands of public officers.

“Such exclusion not only demonstrates scant respect for the workers representatives but tantamount to a rejection of the principle of meaningful dialogue being vital for the achievement of effective public policy formulation and implementation in challenging social and economic times in Barbados, one of the core principles upon which the Social Partnership of Barbados was founded,” the Akanni-McDowall-led NUPW said.

It stressed that it was never invited to participate in the recent economic discussions.  The union also made it clear that while the CTUSAB was the umbrella body for trade unions and associations in Barbados, it was not a trade union and therefore does not represent NUPW in these matters.

“Again, the NUPW was excluded from these meetings and therefore has no part in any decisions or conclusions they formed.

“The NUPW wishes to remind the Prime Minister that the much heralded success of the Social Partnership in Barbados resulted from an appreciation that there must be respect for, and equality of, treatment of the Social Partners, which is fundamental for enhancing the ownership of policies and ensuring meaningful implementation, particularly in an environment of harmonious labour management relations.

“The NUPW will continue to be vigilant and unrelenting in its representation of the public officers of Barbados, both in the Central Government departments and statutory boards. The NUPW therefore would expect that due respect will be paid by Government to the consultative process before decisions which impact the lives of public officers in Barbados are taken,” its statement added. (KJ)

12 Responses to NUPW left out of economic consultations

  1. h.callender April 25, 2017 at 2:29 am

    The PM should know by now that he did not install himself in that position unless he think that he is a dictator and Barbados is his domain.

  2. Sunshine Sunny Shine April 25, 2017 at 3:18 am

    Good ole Freundel. Not a friendly PM to those who oppose his regime at all.

  3. sticks and stones April 25, 2017 at 5:22 am

    When the NUPW acts like a reputable Union and behaves like a reputable union they would be treated with due respect , until then no dice

    • Sunshine Sunny Shine April 25, 2017 at 6:57 am

      Well you know the Government can be branded with that same label you put on the union. In other words, behaves like a reputable government then they would be treated with due respect. Until then, their azzes are going to get kick to the curb.

  4. jrsmith April 25, 2017 at 5:49 am

    When are we going to wake up as a nation and really smell the coffee , what do you expect from a government who is untrustworthy and not accountable to the black voters /people of barbados ,they treat bajans like second class citizens and very disrespectful and drew they line through our democracy , our black bajans, the silent majority :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    Why do you think after 50 years of (Independence Dependency) that 1% of our population control barbados, because those people demand respect and gets it from our politicians , the people who dont get involve with bajan politics………
    We must change for change to happen……………………………

  5. Randolph April 25, 2017 at 7:55 am

    This man is so vindictive it is unbievable.I wonder how he is sleeping.

  6. Youth April 25, 2017 at 8:43 am

    I’m sure we had PMs that treated persons the same or worst when they are not part of their regime. If one behaves like a child, one would be treated like a child.

    Good so the 1% demands respect and they get it. I’m sure if we that make up the other percentage demand our respect and act like we got some sense, then politicians and the 1% would not be controlling and disrespecting us.

    To be honest I am not sure whether both parties are for the blacks. As I see it, both parties have not be supportive of the majority- especially the small business owners.

    As I always say to my friends, “we need to hold our politicians accountable.”

  7. Adrian April 25, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Question; who does CTUSAB repsents? I thought it repsents all the trade unions with the exception of BWU who had pulled out of group.

    • Biscuits April 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Thought so too…perhaps this young man needs some guidance.

  8. sticks and stones April 25, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Furthermore what can NUPW leadership add to the debate they cannot even understand the basic logistics and responsiblity inclusive to financial responsibity
    Here we have an economy struggling to make ends met and the NUPW leadership used bellious language and actions to further cripple the economy
    Who needs to invite them at the table when the NUPW actions has already be vivid demonstrations of there input

  9. Bill April 25, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Adrian you are perfectly correct. NUPW is indeed part of CTUSAB while the BWA is not. NUPW had no more right to be there than any of the many other members of CTUSAB – BSTU, BUT, Police,Nurses, Doctors or any of the other member associations of CTUSAB.

  10. Wayne April 26, 2017 at 7:47 am

    I am for labour, and stand behind the political party who supports unions, However what do Akanni expect? It’s politics, you March with the opposition, and expect an embrace from the ruling party.


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