Buyers Club coming soon
FINALLY. Refurbishment for the long-mooted National Union of Public Workers’ (NUPW) Buyers Club will begin next month.
President Walter Maloney told the DAILY NATION yesterday the trade union had now secured the $1.5 million to launch the project which is expected to open within three to four months and would be located at Building No.3, Newton Industrial Park, Christ Church.
“We have been able to secure the building and get the necessary funding for its refurbishment and we are hoping to start refurbishing within another month,” he said. “It has taken a long time trying to get the funding. It was a struggle but finally we have been able to put it together.”
Maloney’s comments came following a tour of the Industrial Development Corporation’s building by other senior trade union officials, including general Secretary Dennis Clarke and acting deputy general secretary Roslyn Smith as they finalised plans.
Long time coming
The trade union president said the Buyers Club, which will be designed to help its members cope with the rising cost of living, was on the cards for the last six years, but was not a easy task.
“It is not as easy as we thought it would have been. We understand there are a lot of forces out there who don’t want us to open. We are not naive, but we also feel we have a social responsibility to our members.”
Maloney also pointed out that setting up of the Buyers Club was neither a money-making project nor intended to compete against similar enterprises.
“The whole idea of setting up the Buyers Club is to offer better prices and it is not set up to make money,” he added.
“We are not here to compete against any supermarket but what we are saying is there are basic food items out there that our members are having problems in continuing to buy.”
The senior union official said they were also hoping to expand the project into “other sectors of civil society” and indicated that the union’s credit union organisation had expressed an interest in getting on board.
“If we get them (credit union) on board, it would be better for us ’cause with bigger numbers it would push down prices,” he added.
Maloney also disclosed that although in the initial stages the Buyers Club would be limited to union members and their families, future plans could see the net widening to other members of the public.
The Buyers Club was scheduled to open two years ago with a proposed location at Wildey, St Michael, but was placed on hold after the union was unable to find a financier for the project.
It is expected to start with an approximate membership of 10 000 and would offer items ranging from sugar, flour and juices to canned fish, meats, cooking oils and toiletries.