Govt paying lip service – NUPW

President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall is charging that the outcome of last Friday’s meeting of the Social Partnership was another indication that the Freundel Stuart-led Cabinet does not take workers’ concerns seriously.

And he says a meeting of the island’s four major trade unions – the NUPW, the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), and the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) – will be convened shortly to discuss the way forward.

Representatives of the trade unions and the private sector met with Stuart and other government officials for eight hours at the Hilton Barbados Resort last Friday, during which the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), which increased from two per cent to ten per cent as of July 1, featured prominently.

In his closing remarks, the Prime Minister said although the NSRL was being viewed by its critics as the “sin against the Holy Ghost”, his Government was forced to “bite the bullet” in an attempt to address the large fiscal deficit.

He repeated an earlier assertion – denied by the trade unions – that when Government met with leaders of the labour movement on June 23, they agreed to wait until September 30 to see how the levy would performed.

Stuart further contended that he had made a promise that, depending on its performance, Government would be willing to seriously consider either a coping allowance or serious discussions on a salary increase. He therefore implored the unions to stick to the agreement.

“I want to suggest to the unions, once again, that we give the levy a little more time to work; observe its performance,” the Prime Minister said, while maintaining that “no alternative to the NSRL has been put on the table to deal with the deficit”.

However, like BWU General Secretary Toni Moore, McDowall categorically denied that such an agreement had been reached.

The NUPW boss told Barbados TODAY while they went into the discussions hoping for a resolution, the contentious issues were left unresolved.

“I realize that this has been a ploy of Government when it comes to labour issues. Last Friday was more of the same where they skirted around substantive points. People need to understand that we speak on behalf of the workers and when Government responds to us with such lack of seriousness, they are in truth making light of the workers’ issues. It is not something I am fond of, because whenever the unions go into meetings with Government we go in with the expectation that we are going to get a result and last Friday was no different,” McDowall said.

The NUPW leader would not say whether the unions would resume actions to force the administration to accede to their demands for a 50 per cent reduction in the NSRL.

“We are going to regroup and determine the way forward. Friday’s meeting and its lack of results would form a big part of that meeting. I can only speak for myself and, truth be told, I do not believe we made any headway, so we really have to regroup as a collective body,” McDowall said, although stressing that the meeting of the Social Partnership was not a waste of time, as the public was provided with more information than it had before.

9 Responses to Govt paying lip service – NUPW

  1. BIGSKY August 15, 2017 at 5:31 am

    I respect the unions for fighting for workers to be given a wage increase, and so forth,but it seems to me that the only solution to all these problems will come on election day.

  2. Patrick August 15, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Will a BLP government do the following:

    Abolish the NSRL
    Give civil servants a 23% increase in salaries
    Reduce vat
    Rehire NCC workers
    Reduce prices in supermarket
    Reduce gas and diesel prices

    Finally, will a BLP government march with Herbert and the unions if none of the above happens.

    Elections are won based on results from individual constituencies and not the total amount of votes cast in the country, so the BLP may get 52 percent of the total votes cast and still be defeated.

  3. Bajan boy August 15, 2017 at 7:07 am

    Patrick what the BLP government cannot do for sure is give you a brain

    • bk August 15, 2017 at 10:00 am

      wow, instead of responding to the man’s comments, you seek to insult.

  4. Troy August 15, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Poor unions allowed Froon and his people to play them again. Does the Trade unions in this country really know the power that they possess. This talk about dialogue and consultation is too cliche . Nothing but hot air and a waste of time and money. The PM ain’t gonna back down, however he gave the unions the opportunity to meet but his mind is still made up. Only solution : suck salt till next general elections.

  5. Waiting August 15, 2017 at 10:17 am

    No doubt about it, only Election Day will they be forced to really hear the voice of the people of the Unions. I know that the unions may not be as effective as before but they are better than if they didn’t exist.

  6. Wayne August 15, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    3 unions representing government workers, 1 union representing general workers , 4 unions representing the interests of the private sector, this equation is unbalanced.

  7. Wayne August 15, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    If the unions are sleeping with the private sector at the holiday inn,CA we assume the workers are sleeping at the salvation army

  8. Belfast August 15, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    How can anyone expect the Cabinet to have any respect for the workers of Barbados, when the people Barbados voted Ester Byer -Suckoo out of Parliament, only to have Prime Minister Stuart re-instate her as a senator in the Upper House, and of all things. appoint her as Minister of Labour.
    As the old British ditty goes.
    “The Working class can K*** m* a**
    I’ve got the Minister’s job at last.”


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