No more than five per cent, say unions

Local trade unions today said they were now prepared to meet Government halfway on the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), even as they announced major plans for a march on Parliament next Tuesday in a show of opposition to the measure, which took effect last week.

The decisions were taken at this afternoon’s joint meeting of shop stewards from the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) at Solidarity House.

Following the closed meeting, which got under way at 5:15 p.m. and lasted just over two hours, NUPW President Akanni McDowall announced to reporters that the unions were now willing to accept a 50 per cent reduction in the NSRL after they had demanded either a total repeal of the onerous tax measure or the introduction of a coping subsidy for their members in their meeting with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Minister of the Finance Chris Sinckler and other Government officials at Government Headquarters two weeks ago.

From left: BSTU President Mary Redman, NUPW General Secretary Rosalyn Smith, NUPW President Akanni McDowall, BWU General Secretary Toni Moore and BUT President Pedro Shepherd at today’s news conference.

“We gave a number of options which we have indicated in the letter to the Prime Minister. The NUPW’s position was that a coping subsidy be instituted or that the taxes be repealed.

“[However] there is now a third position which we would have included and we put it to our members this evening and that is we would accept an increase in the NSRL to no more than five per cent.

“We however understand that one particular action might not serve the entire population, so there might need to be a combination of things to be done in order to bring relief to the members,” McDowall added.

At the end of the meeting, during which animated voices were clearly heard coming from the packed auditorium, BSTU President Mary Redman also explained that Tuesday’s march from Queen’s Park, The City, to Parliament was only phase one of ramped up action by the unions, which remained adamant that the NSRL would only spell undue hardship for their members.

Redman, who had earlier announced that the unions would be dispatching official correspondence to Stuart, Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley and the two Independent Members of Parliament, further revealed that there would be the symbolic delivery of the correspondence to these same officials.

After that, Redman said the unions were prepared to give the Stuart administration a short period to change its decision on the levy, which was increased in the May 30 Budget from two per cent to ten per cent.

Redman also warned that should Government fail to comply with the unions’ demands, more militant action would follow.

“There are follow up actions that we have planned, we have indicated them to our shop stewards and they have given us the mandate to move ahead, finalize and work out the logistics of those actions.

“We would then relate to them exactly when, where and how those actions would take place,” Redman said, while keeping the specifics close to her chest.

“After Tuesday’s event we are hoping to get a reasonable and caring response from Government and at the end of the time period, if we do not get the response that we are hoping for, then we will up the thing, but that time period will not be revealed at this point in time,” she stressed.

17 Responses to No more than five per cent, say unions

  1. James Austin Bynoe
    James Austin Bynoe July 7, 2017 at 2:03 am

    SMH … workers are doomed … had high hopes for this bunch

  2. Sophia Branch
    Sophia Branch July 7, 2017 at 2:33 am

    A happy looking group

  3. Mr Progressive July 7, 2017 at 6:19 am

    Bunch of tugs trying to strongarm the goverment l have realize these tugs have no class like the former leaders ,l study you all and you all can never represent me your relevents is only as important as the people that join you all so keep try to recruit more local followers l sign and swear todenfend my country already from all types of enemies local or forgien and stand by to do the same when call on again so good luck tugs

  4. Alex Alleyne July 7, 2017 at 7:37 am

    What a sorry looking bunch. You guys just can’t make up your mind on anything but a MARCH. ……. You all need the exercise any how.

  5. Errol Rayside
    Errol Rayside July 7, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Sell out.

  6. Greengiant July 7, 2017 at 9:34 am

    All the threats, and long agressive talk about shutting down the country and marching. Now compromising to 5% instead of the 10% increase of the levey.

    Should they not have done their home work first before all the media comments? Where does this leave them as representatives of the people? How can the workers trust you to lead them in the future if some of you continue to speak with your politically motivated voice first, then having to return to your voice of national influence? This is nothing short of embarrasment to the trade union movement.

    I guess some of you too like others in Barbados might have said to Solutions Barbados that you want to see the numbers within their economic proposals. Well you union leaders should have done the numbers, but particularly in the NUPW I don’t think Mr. Beckles would have been motivated to do any numbes, because as we know he had certain aspirations in St. Moichael South.
    I think the president needs to be careful the company he keeps in the future. I don’t even want to comment any further.

  7. Alex Alleyne July 7, 2017 at 10:14 am

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation”. At Barbados Today , “did I get tek down”,?????? Have I broken any rules ?????.

  8. Saga Boy July 7, 2017 at 10:36 am

    Never saw such jokers in my life. The country in trouble and they playing games and taking foolishness. What is the rationale for the 5 percent? This is a time they should be asking government what they can do to help. Instead they talking bout striking.

  9. Saga Boy July 7, 2017 at 10:53 am

    This same group wants government to increase salaries by 23 percent. So where is the government to get money to pay wages.

  10. Corey Broom July 7, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    March for elections, shut down de country until PM call a date. Date must be within 60 days. This is what de people want, tired of this government

  11. Mark My Word July 7, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Unions want to hijack the Government now

    Remember what Tom Adams did to Teachers Union in 1976 when dem when in Parliament yard push Placards in Errol Barrow face,
    Barrow lost the Government, BLP Tom Adams came to power and read the Riot Act to dem, Legislate salaries a first for B’dos, tell them to march all around Parliament but don’t come in the yard to this day dem can’t come in the yard to protest,
    We need another Tom Adams right now for these Mercenaries

  12. Mark My Word July 7, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Time to drop out the Unions
    Selling out the poor workers and using them as pawns

    Somebody looking to get Knighted now, Mark my word.

  13. Mark My Word July 7, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    These Unions meking me laff

    Dem still expect to get a raise of pay for civil servants if taxes reduce.

    Does these Educated clowns know that TAXES is what pays the Civil Servants?

    Does President Mary Redman, NUPW President Akanni McDowall, and BUT President Pedro Shepherd know that TAXES is what pays them when the month comes?

  14. Lee Farnum-Badley July 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Minister of Finance never expected to get away with a 10%. It was a ruse so as to accept 5% and come out smelling like a rose with the unions in time for elections !! Smoke and mirrors from the union negotiators too !!

    Everything has “cushion” in it nowadays, folks. Like Ms. Pringle’s dance.


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