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    September 22

  • 11:58 AM

Calls for quick resolution

ALEX DOWNES, alexdownes@nationnews.com

Added 17 January 2018

denis-kellman

Minister Denis Kellman. (FILE)

The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) may have to fight for that 23 per cent salary increase all on its own.

That’s because in addition to Government, now the private sector and the trade union umbrella body will not be backing that union’s planned industrial action over stalled salary negotiations for public servants.

One day after NUPW president Akanni McDowall made the announcement, Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman told the union: “Stop thinking self and think country.”

The St Lucy MP, speaking in Parliament Yard yesterday morning, said that despite public servants not receiving an increase in nearly a decade, Government was focused on ensuring people kept their jobs.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss called for a quick resolution to the ongoing matter, as he said the country could not afford to have industrial action at this point.

“Elections or no elections, this economy can well do without any industrial action,” he said before heading into the year’s first sitting of the House of Assembly.

“We already have the challenges of an inadequate level of productivity in Barbados, and with any level of disruption there are no winners in this case.

“I can only hope that the parties involved are able to sit together quickly and quietly and resolve whatever issues there are.”

Inniss said that while he empathised with the union concerning public servants not having a salary hike, it had to be measured against the ability of the state to pay those demands.

Meanwhile, president of the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA), Charles Herbert, told the MIDWEEK NATION industrial action would certainly disrupt the private sector.

The BPSA had joined forces with trade unions, including the NUPW, when they marched to Parliament last July to protest Government’s austerity measures.

Herbert said it was regrettable the planned industrial action was coming as a result of lack of a response from Government. He called for “speedy negotiations”.

“We can understand there being action as a result of a disagreement, but when action is because there has been no response . . . . We’re very sympathetic to the union’s frustration in not getting the response,” he added.

The Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB) also made it clear it would not be joining forces with the NUPW for any industrial action.

“CTUSAB has no mandate from its members for any action and that is not being contemplated,” president Cedric Murrell told Starcom Network.

“Our approach is to understand or try to come to grips with the economic straits this country is in, and to seek within that understanding what is best for the country and our members.”

He added: “That is something we can arrive at through [the]process of dialogue and communication. We don’t believe we can arrive at that by confrontation.”

McDowall announced the NUPW’s decision to take industrial action after it did not receive a response from Government to conclude salary negotiations by January 15.

During Monday’s meeting, he said the union had been in contact with other relevant parties.

Repeated efforts to reach Barbados Workers’ Union general secretary Toni Moore for a response were unsuccessful. (AD)

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