Akanni: We’re still in talks
Government was prepared to offer public workers even more than the 23 per cent wage increase that was previously being demanded by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW).
A source close to the negotiations who requested anonymity told the Sunday Sun that the NUPW, the Barbados Workers’ Union and the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados had negotiated for Government bonds for the years 2010 to 2016; a lump sum of money (back pay/coping subsidy) for the years 2016 to 2018 and the 4.5 per cent increase for 2018/2019.
“When worked out, this would have amounted to more than the 23 per cent that was being asked but the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that they were uncomfortable with it because it would cost the Government an additional $120 million, the source revealed. Consequently, the proposal was taken off the table.
The NUPW, in particular, came in for harsh criticism when the union announced that it had accepted the 4.5 per cent payment over three years.
Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn, who is also head of the Unity Workers Trade Union, accused the NUPW of “selling out” the workers, pointing out that they were not willing to work with the previous administration.
However, the source explained that the union had met with the Democratic Labour Party Government on three occasions last year in an attempt to arrive at a settlement.
“One of those meetings was only convened following a clear threat from the union. The previous administration refused to move from its position of zero per cent. In the past three weeks, the union has met with the new administration three times as well,” the source said.
The source reported that a new negotiating position was on the table for public servants to receive a coping subsidy as a percentage or a lump sum payment.
When contacted, for a comment on these reports, NUPW president Akanni McDowall said: “The unions are still negotiating, once negotiations have completed the unions will comment.” (MB)