McDowall hopeful about Budget talks with Sinckler

Despite the war of words between the trade unions and Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler over the 2017-2018 Budget, President of the National Union of Public Workers’ (NUPW) Akanni McDowall is hopeful that Friday’s sit down with the minister would yield some positive results.

Sinckler met with private sector representatives earlier this week and has softened the austerity measures somewhat by exempting 300 items in the so called basic basket of goods from the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), which rose from two per cent to a whopping ten per cent.

In light of this move, McDowall is hoping that the unions will also be assured of relief for public workers.

“I always try to go into these negotiations in good faith and thinking as positive as possible. I believe that the unions will be able to achieve our objective. We hope the minister would show the same amenability he did with the business people, but if he doesn’t then we will have to do what we have to do and what is necessary in the best interest of our members,” McDowall told Barbados TODAY ahead of the meeting with Sinckler.

Earlier this month the NUPW gave Sinckler an ultimatum of repealing the NSRL before its July 1 implementation date or institute a “coping subsidy” for public servants until salary negotiations have been concluded. Failure to meet either of the demands, the union said, would result in industrial action.

In support of the NUPW’s position, General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union Toni Moore on Tuesday made it clear that her members were no longer “able to hold strain” in the face of the tough measures. However, she stoppped short of threatening strike action against the Government.

In response, Sincker Wednesday reminded the unions that the choice was either increased taxes or public sector job cuts.

However, McDowall told Barbados TODAY Thursday afternoon that while he would not be stepping back from the mandate of his members, he was prepared to listen to what the minister had to say.

“The position of the union is still very much the same. We are asking for the taxes to be repealed or that a coping subsidy be given. [But] once we get to the negotiating table we would have to hear what the Minister is offering but the union’s position is clear,” he stressed.

4 Responses to McDowall hopeful about Budget talks with Sinckler

  1. joan Worrell June 23, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Comrade McDowall, it is good to go into negotiations in good faith but in this particular one, you should be going in with the understanding that as from the end of this month, Government will cease paying your members by way of printing money. Calls for rising up and work stoppages will not force Government to resume the printing of money. It is either tax or axe according to the Nation Newspaper’s headline. I can understand the situation in which you have been placed. Yes, you have workers to represent but the late great Sir Frank Walcott always reminded us , union members, that he would never attempt to defend the indefensible. He understood the power of strikes but if he didn’t have a fallback plan/escape route, he would never go down that road. I wish you all the best of luck in your negotiations tomorrow.

  2. Natalie June 23, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Mr. Mcdowall the Minister suggested that organizations walk with alternatives..It is ridiculous after his failed Home grown policies that he could spout such nonsense.

    I support Krystal Howell call to collect 38 % of the money owed to government as outlined in the Auditor General’s Report. The government print money to pay its bills and not to pay Public Servants.

    Therefore, if the Government pay Public Servants first or Last – it would have to print money.

  3. Greengiant June 23, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    I have to agree with you totally. @joan Worrell.

  4. Greengiant June 23, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Public servant’s wages and salaries are part of the government’s bills, so that would have been included in the money previously printed. That was made clear by former central bank govenor Worrell. @ Natalie


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