Barbados Public Sector Union Not Backing Down From Wage Fight

Jamaica News, January 23, 2018

(Caribbean360) – Barbados Public Sector Union: Barbados has not seen the end of the battle by the island’s largest public sector union, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), to secure a salary increase for its members.

Against the backdrop of heavy criticism of its decision to stage a national shutdown last Thursday and Friday, NUPW president Akanni McDowall has made it clear that, “the NUPW is committed to securing a salary increase for its members, regardless of the party in power, endorsement from other unions or the opinions of social commentators. Neither silence, contempt, award or reward will sway us to do otherwise”.

From all reports, Government services continued to operate normally, even in the face of the union’s “two days of protest and resistance”.

However, the NUPW boss rubbished suggestions that the protest action failed, saying that, “initial reports indicate that our efforts were effective, based on the numbers of members who stayed away from work and the respective government departments adversely affected”.

McDowall remains adamant that the NUPW would not be sidetracked by “one-upmanship or the arrogance of devising arguments to prove the strike’s success”.

He insisted that the union’s action was justified, saying that the failure of the Ministry of the Civil Service to respond to the union’s January 15th deadline to settle the issue was nothing short of disrespect for public servants.

McDowall also blasted social commentators and parliamentarians who suggested that the union’s stance was political.

“To assume that a union’s stance against a government in power automatically means allegiance with an opposition party is simplistic and unfortunate,” he maintained.

The NUPW President underscored that the union’s fight for its members was not about attention or confrontation, but was based on the grounds that the island’s public servants deserved better.

“Public servants deserve at the very least the courtesy of a response to a formal request or demand; we deserve some reasonable offer for an increase in response to our initial request. We deserve better because, notwithstanding the oft-repeated issues and challenges within the public service, Barbados still opens for business every day, thanks to the efforts of its public servants.

“We now regroup, review and ready our members for the next steps to be taken in the coming weeks and months ahead,” McDowall said.

Contributed by Dr Colin O Jarrett


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