NUPW president Akanni McDowall (second right) in conversation with (from left) Carol Rice, Tony Hoyte and Roy Brathwaite following a meeting at NUPW headquarters. (Picture by Lennox Devonish.)
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The majority of members of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) have agreed to proposed salary increases for civil servants, says union president Akanni McDowall.
This decision came yesterday following an hour-long meeting at the NUPW’s headquarters, Dalkeith, St Michael.
“We met with the general membership and once we were able to explain the proposal to them, they agreed with the position that was taken by the council; the majority did. There were very few people who did not agree,” he said.
While voices were raised during the closed-door meeting in the Horatio Cooke Auditorium, those who emerged afterwards said they were relatively satisfied with the discussion.
McDowall added that the proposals were sent to the Ministry of the Civil Service and the union was awaiting a response from them.
“Once we have a response from them, then we would communicate with the public accordingly,” he said.
When pressed for the suggested timeline on the matter, he said the ministry would be the ones to give the union the proposed deadline.
Previously the NUPW had not swayed from its position of a 23 per cent increase in negotiations with the former Democratic Labour Party Government. However, new figures of between 3 and 4.5 per cent were being suggested since the Barbados Labour Party took office following the May 24 General Election.
McDowall declined to reveal the proposed increase, but said the proposal was multifaceted and held different components.
“I can’t reveal anything further; not until we finish negotiations,” he said.
Meanwhile, president of the Unity Workers Union and newly appointed Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn had earlier criticised the move by the NUPW hierarchy as “political mischief”, since after one meeting the bodies had reached agreement.
Describing the unfolding of the situation as shameful, Franklyn said the members should “do something about them [union leaders] because they were trying to hold the last administration up to ransom”.
“[They] were asking for 23 per cent, which was really unrealistic, and then with one meeting they dropped from 23 per cent down there? It smacks of political mischief,” he said, adding that the union’s holding out was an indication that it wanted to get rid of the last Government.
“I would have wanted them [the previous Government] out, but I would take no steps through my union to do it; that is not what the union is for,” Franklyn said. (RA)