McDowall not buying Sinckler’s argument

President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall is not buying the Minister of Finance’s suggestion that if recently announced taxes were to be rolled back, public sector employees could be made to go home.

Not only has he dismissed Chris Sinckler’s argument, but McDowall has also suggested that it was Government’s mismanagement of funds that had put the country in its current position and that workers should not suffer as a result.

McDowall took that position today, a day after Sinckler warned the NUPW that Government may have to sever public servants if taxes were not implemented, because the public sector wage bill
is too high.

The Minister of Finance was responding to McDowall’s threat that his union would take industrial action if the tax measures were not rolled back or a “coping subsidy” instituted for public servants until salary negotiations are concluded.

However, referring to the Central Bank’s report for the first quarter of this year, McDowall pointed out that Government was currently spending more than $100 million less on the public service than it did in 2013.

“So the whole argument about salaries and wages being the cause of why Government is in this position is flawed, because the Central Bank’s report for the first quarter of 2017 distinctly tells you that salaries and wages cannot be the problem,” he argued.

McDowall contended that the real problem was the unwillingness of Government to sit and negotiate with the union.

He suggested that all the NUPW was asking the Freundel Stuart administration to do was conclude salary negotiations before it implemented any additional taxes, because workers were already overtaxed.

Contending that the current economic problems stemmed from Government’s mismanaging its money, the union official cited the case in which the administration paid private haulers as much as $411 an hour to collect garbage even though the Sanitation Service Authority had staff in place to do the same job.

McDowall said a similar situation existed at the Transport Board which is paying private contractors to repair buses although it has staff there to do the work.

The union leader contended that if Government wanted to pursue a policy of retrenchment of public servants, it would have to adhere to the principle of first in, last out, and produce a list of all the workers who were hired within the last year.

Dismissing suggestions that all he wanted was to be critical of the current administration, McDowall said: “I am not here to be a critic of the Government. I want the Government to sit with the union and determine how both of us can achieve our objectives.”  

9 Responses to McDowall not buying Sinckler’s argument

  1. Anthony Small
    Anthony Small June 13, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Don’t back down ,Don’t let him scare you

  2. Keen Oserver June 13, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    It is not about backing down nor scaring. It is important to be careful when talking about marching to repeal a budget. Imagine for a second that McDowell was able through a march to repeal a budget. Do you think this will end there, if the government changes I can see a future where marches are used yearly when an interest group, perhaps not a union holds marches because they don’t agree with something in the budget. A precedent like this could make Barbados ungovernable and may even lead to political instability. It seems to me that McDowell is not been rational or persons with special agendas are giving him some very bad advise.

  3. Leroy June 14, 2017 at 5:33 am

    You are spot on, gov has a problem also with thieving aswell as wastage, but they rather blame the workers than whois really at fault. We the public do not get to see the fees and payments to the advisers and consultants of gov business and contracts, when ministers and their friends can draw million dollar cheques for conveyances and legal opinions.

    The minister is setting up a debate with a false narrative and argument, pitching tax increases vs retrenchment, which is total nonsense. The public must know and it must stop, sometimes we get a glimpse of the improprieties from the opposition but we must understand that the opposition is not the right messenger for these issues bc the are awaiting to exploit said issues if and when they win the parliament.

  4. greengiant June 14, 2017 at 8:28 am

    People, McDowall, and several other Barbadians are missing the facts here. You are all still on why, how and when we got to where we are. The fact is we are already there, do we address it with haste, slowly or extremely slow. What’s the medicine required to get us from where we are?

    McDowall, you are still talking about what caused us to be where we are. Even if the government changes, what are the measures required? I urge you not to play politics with the representation of the public workers, the youth of the union are with you. The elders are falling in line as they’ve noticed that to fight you is to their own peril, and they’re accustomed to sitting on the fences.

    However, don’t be a sacrificial lamb for the political parties in this country, be mindful of consequences when you speak, think clearly, thoroughly, and always support what is best for the workers of this country. I know you are aware of the economic advice given to government prior to the budget, you are always party to certain information, so don’t politicize this issue with no march. Get your council together, and negotiate some money for the workers for Christmas, plan for increases to match the economic growth of the country. Similarly to the B W U / B T A agreements. So whenever there is economic gains in sectors the workers will benefit. However the march is useless at this time, you should be getting the government to the negotiating table based on the intake of revenue from early September. Don’t fight the increases, use them to represent the interest of the workers.

    • Concerned Man June 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      The how and why and what the causes are must also be addressed in order to ensure that whatever the “FIX” does not become undone by the problems that brought on the current calamity…

  5. Milli Watt June 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I agree wid Anthony Small stop de long talk and walk. I want to see if you get support from ur side kick. doubt very much but yuh got to test it man

  6. Alex Alleyne June 14, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Mc, this is not your fight, keep your mouth shut and let the Opposition do its job.

  7. greengiant June 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    She can’t walk with the union, because she too know the medicine she will prescribe if elected will be bitter.

    She understands her responsibility, and knows that the B C C I will have a second look at their support for her @ Milli Watt. You’re so right, it’s not his fight, but he as declared openly that he supports the opposition, so he may feel obligated to take up their cross. As in the case of the G A I A marches earlier, ” this is certainly not about the workers “. @Alex Alleyne

  8. Lorenzo June 15, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    GreenGiant why you don,t give the blogs a rest ,every topic you on trying to promote the DLP and drag down the opposition talking about want a repeat of 2013 with the old lady on the bus?It is not going to happen when an election is called you will get the manifesto,as Mr Thompson said in 2007 The government is elected to govern ,the opposition is not there to offer solutions.You remember that statement Greengiant from your former leader or you have a convenient memory?It is a good thing you are not amember of the DLP since your contributions clearly states otherwise.


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