Toni Moore and Akanni McDowall: No More Licks!

Submitted by William Skinner
Toni Moore, General Secretary, BWU and Akanni Mc Dowall, President, NUPW

Toni Moore, General Secretary, BWU and Akanni Mc Dowall, President, NUPW

Refreshingly, the new young leadership of the two major trade unions has made its collective presence felt. This is good because we all know that the old guard had become soft and was not prepared to take on the current administration.


Both the Barbados Labour Party and the Democratic Labour Party have always been well served by our union leadership. The history is there and those who were involved in trade unions going back to the sixties know the script.

I can only hope that these new young and vibrant trade unionists are not in the pockets already of either the Government or Her Majesty’s Opposition. We all know how the political opportunists operate: when in opposition you march with the workers; when in government you simply do not. Bet your bottom dollar that those who are so much in love with the unions today, may not be that romantic when they are calling the shots!

The question as asked by Smokey Burke in one of his popular love songs is :Where do we go from here…he continued : I am not trying to discourage you in any way my dear/but I have had so many broken hearts in my life time before /that I am afraid I can’t take on any more. And finally: Falling in love is not a game at all / You may be out for kicks but I can’t take no licks because my heart is not a ball…”

For the better part of forty years the workers in Barbados have been given the short end of the stick. I am speaking of ALL workers. In terms of the professional bodies, they have not feared too well: nurses, teachers , police, junior doctors have all been fighting uphill battles. We have seen employers bluntly refuse to recognize unions; workers being fired without any compassion. In recent times, the so-called Social Partnership was used as a sophisticated public relations tool . This partnership became so “successful” that, it was impossible to tell the difference between the unionists and the workers. Just like the pigs and the farmers, after a while, on Animal Farm.

So, I score round one for the unions and their forthright stance. Now, I await, with guarded optimism, to see what will the rest of the struggle look like. I refuse to be a pessimist and castigate young leaders for making use of the opportunities to be useful agents of social change. They are to be complimented .I hope they rely on real on independent thinkers and advisers. Our country needs an infusion of young ,fearless leaders at all levels.

This talk about youth leadership is a sorry red herring. Arthur, Mottley, Stuart, Jones, Inniss and many others are very young people and they started their careers no older than the two leaders of the BWU and NUPW. Quite frankly in terms of public involvement, we have always had very young citizens actively involved. So let us get off this silly criticism of McDowall (NUPW) and Moore (BWU). Judge them by their contributions not their birth certificates.

The workers of Barbados must be like Smokey Burke and tell the opportunists that love is not a game at all. Quite frankly all of the political management class should listen to this love ballad.’Cause if they only out for kicks, the workers can’t take no more licks. Their hearts are not balls.

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113 Comments on “Toni Moore and Akanni McDowall: No More Licks!”

  1. William Skinner July 18, 2015 at 3:00 PM #

    @ Colonel Buggy,
    I am not surprised. About 15 years ago, I told a group of American university graduates that Barbados and many Caribbean islands had free education, at that time, from kindergarten to university, they were stunned. When I told them that you could turn up at a hospital and be treated without insurance they thought I was teasing them. When I told them that government/public owned high schools were far more prestigious than private schools they honestly thought that I was just making up things.
    Years ago I took some Americans to a government unit at Kensington Lodge in the city. When I told them that the rent was probably less than 300US per month, they could not believe it !


  2. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 3:05 PM #

    William Skinner

    You’re quite correct… companies in America do not offer maternity leave because federal mandate has taken care of that problem.


  3. Caswell Franklyn July 18, 2015 at 3:10 PM #


    I can’t answer that. I take my instructions from the workers and that is the position that I am duty bound to articulate.

    Sent from my iPad



  4. William Skinner July 18, 2015 at 3:15 PM #

    @ Dompey,
    If you want to really understand progressive laws governing such things as maternity leave , please check Sweden. America is at the bottom. As for your question regarding maternity leave in Barbados, this may help you or you can consult an active trade unionist:
    (Cap. 345A)
    Purpose: To provide for the grant of maternity leave and for the protection of the employment of those employees during such leave.

    Key Features:

    An employee is required to provide a certificate from a medical practitioner advising the expected date of confinement; or a certificate issued by a medical practitioner or a midwife advising the actual date of confinement.
    To qualify for a grant of maternity leave an employee must be employed for at least twelve (12) months.
    Maternity leave is granted for a period of not less than twelve (12) weeks. It may be granted as a period not exceeding six (6) weeks prior to the expected date of confinement and not less than six (6) weeks after the date of confinement.
    A medical practitioner may recommend up to six (6) weeks additional leave for illness arising out of such confinement.
    The right not to be dismissed or to be given notice of dismissal between the date of delivery given on the medical certificate and the expiration of maternity leave or additional maternity leave granted.
    The right not to be given notice of dismissal which expires during maternity leave or additional maternity leave or to be dismissed during such leave.
    The right not to be dismissed or required to resign because of pregnancy.
    The right not to be required to resign during maternity leave or additional maternity leave.
    The right on resumption of work following maternity leave, to seniority rights and reinstatement in the former work or equivalent work.


  5. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 3:15 PM #

    William Skinner

    Did you tell those same Americans what percentage of Barbadians made it to the tertiary level? And did you informed those Americans about the long wait at QEH and the quality of care? And did those American college graduates informed you of the starting salary of an university graduate in the United States?


  6. William Skinner July 18, 2015 at 3:24 PM #

    @ Dompey,
    I was merely trying to enlighten them on the progressive social services that the region/Barbados had at the time of the talk. I have been told that a visit to an American emergency room can be as long as five hours if the injury/ailmentis not life threatening, even if you have insurance. I have also been reliably informed that many American graduates are now working for as little as 400 per week in jobs that were once attractive to those who only had high school diplomas. You must remember that America is the richest country in the world and most states in America have bigger economies than Barbados and most islands in our region.


  7. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 3:30 PM #

    William Skinner

    An expecting mother can take up to a year of FMLA, and if her vacation, sick and personal leave runs out within that allotted year. She can still continue her leave uninterrupted without pay and return to work within the prescribed time. I am afraid to concluded that the same doesn’t hold true for the expecting Barbadian worker?


  8. William Skinner July 18, 2015 at 3:35 PM #

    @ Dompey,
    I hope you understand that whereas in Barbados, there is paid maternity leave, no such thing exists in the U.S. And as I stated earlier the FMLA has several anti-worker clauses. You will find that the Barbados Laws are better for the worker and more progressive.


  9. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 3:42 PM #

    William Skinner

    You know if some American college graduates are now working for as little 400 per week and in jobs that were once reserved for persons with high school diplomas. You know that university graduates in Barbados are out of working or are employed in areas of employment which once was reserved with persons with meager skills.


  10. William Skinner July 18, 2015 at 3:46 PM #

    @ Dompey,
    Again let me quote: “According to the United Nations’ International Labour Organization, there are only two countries in the world that don’t have some form of legally protected, partially paid time off for working women who’ve lost a baby: Papua New Guinea and the U.S. ”
    In other words , there is no Federal Law in the U.S. that makes it legal to pay maternity leave. Paid maternity leave simply does not exist in the U.S.
    As a matter of fact, a bill, the Family act, has been stalled in Congress for over a year. The Bill will make employers pay new parents paid leave at 66% of their salary. Even supporters of this Bill know it would still be inadequate because of the median household income of Americans.


  11. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 3:54 PM #

    William Skinner

    Let us agree to disagree, agreeably regarding the topics of maternity leave in Barbados and FMLA in the U.S. We aren’t a in qualified position neither can with speak with any authority on these two matters of deliberation.


  12. Observing July 18, 2015 at 3:59 PM #

    The circus continues.
    If the trade union movement were serious, there would have been by now a meeting of all leaders to flesh out separate but philosophically related issues and then a true united show of force put forward to the government. But, crap, oh yes, each one is more concerned about their own agenda, and issues, and members. Unity is only convenient if there can be a national strike.

    Case in point, Caswell is arguing appointments, BWU/NUPW arguing about forms and dialogue. SSA striking for pay that they don’t automatically deserve, NUPW is “begging” the board to have a heart and pay the workers. Customs on go slow(er), so businesses are screwed an BWU employees suffer indirectly, and the “powers that be” continue like normal.

    You mentioned fractious industrial relations climate on another thread. I suspect worse is to come.

    Will the REAL leaders PLEASE stand up?

    Just observing


  13. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 4:08 PM #

    William Skinner

    I shall concluded on this fact: years ago my wife applied for FMLA, with our second child. And during the course of her pregnancy she exhausted every bit of her vacation, sick and personal leave; and went without pay for a short stint before returning to her regular position at her job after a year.


  14. Bajanfuhlife July 18, 2015 at 4:24 PM #

    Will the current NUPW executive swear by affidavit that Mia Mottley did not make a sizeable Financial contribution to any of them in the last NUPW election for “campaign expenses”?


  15. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 5:04 PM #

    Let us not be indignant in our view of the old guard who has for sometime stood the test, and served the better interest of the membership, before succumbing to the seductive enticement of the self-interest. Time I might add will be the barometer which will determining whether or not this new essence of juvenility will stay anchored to principles of honesty and selfless-service to the membership.


  16. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 5:57 PM #


    And what’s wrong with the three major union grappling over the different concerns for their membership? Are you saying that a consolidation of these three major unions will put added pressure on government and force it to the table of negotiation quicker?


  17. William Skinner July 18, 2015 at 6:13 PM #

    @ Dompey,
    There is no paid maternity leave in the U.S. The emphasis here is “paid”. The two countries in the world that do not have it are : Papua New Guinea and the U.S. I howver enjoyed the exchange very much and hope we can enlighten each other from time to time.


  18. are-we-there-yet July 18, 2015 at 6:24 PM #


    Re. your 3:59 pm post;

    I never thought I’d live to see the day that Dompey (see his 5:57 post) would have corrected a misconception of yours. Time to take another break.


  19. johnnu July 18, 2015 at 6:25 PM #

    It is clear that nupw is now lead by a bunch of lunatics, How can you appeal to the ssa board to have a heart and pay workers for work not done. SSA not one cent they must receive, Unions should pay for the withdrawal of labour. Is Wayne Waldrond for real. Then again what had become of the case when he spent sometime at Central Police station, Thanks to the last General Secretary.


  20. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 6:25 PM #

    William Skinner

    Where have I argued that any state or company in America for that matter offered their employees paid maternity leave? I have even heard the term maternity leave since I migrated to the States a little over thirty years ago.


  21. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 6:36 PM #

    William Skinner

    Don’t quote me on this one, but if my standard memory bank serves me correctly, I do believe that a lot of the thinking behind the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was due in part to the lack of maternity leave coverage for those employed women of child bearing age.


  22. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 6:47 PM #

    William Skinner

    I am more than certain that you will never hear an expecting American woman speaking of maternity leave. And to be quite honest the last time I have heard that term mentioned in any conversation was when mother was pregnant with her last child some forty years ago.


  23. David July 18, 2015 at 7:23 PM #


    The latest is the NUPW asking for a meetings with the MoL to clarify what they described as a misunderstanding. It is amazing intelligent people went into a room and could not agree to joint position. The BU household took a drive around the country tpday and the garbage pileup continues. It is really embarrassing what is unraveling in Barbados.


  24. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 7:31 PM #

    @Are you there yet

    You know, I really dread the idea of empowering my ego with respect to my intellectual prowess when compared to persons of your sort here on BU. But let me say this much my learned friend: your jovial characterization of my intellectual-stance is in my view a reckless-extrapolation and a product of pure guesswork with meets with some measure of superficiality. That’s all I have to say in response to your facile analysis of who you perceived me to be.


  25. are-we-there-yet July 18, 2015 at 7:36 PM #


    Oops! Yuh got dat rite too!


  26. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 7:57 PM #

    What has intelligence to do with consolidating positions if the concessions that are be offered are deemed unreasonable by any or all parties involved? One does not find a single instance in union negotiation where the strategy employed isn’t to hold out as a means to increase further pressure on government demands.


  27. Bush Tea July 18, 2015 at 7:57 PM #

    @ David
    Have you ANY idea of the extent to which your approval ratings would sky-rocket ..if you simply were to quietly and discretely arrange for your spam bucket to develop a close relationship with Dompey’s and AC’s excreta?
    ….surely you can find a way to blame WordPress …or even Bushie… should they eventually wise up to the realisation that BU is no longer contaminated with their shiite.

    Cuh dear man nuh!!!!???


  28. David July 18, 2015 at 8:02 PM #

    @Bush Tea

    The delete button works well.

    On 18 July 2015 at 23:57, Barbados Underground wrote:



  29. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 8:18 PM #

    Bush Tea

    Oh! Go in a corner and keep yah mout shut Bush Tea because you have yet to tell us where you have attended school in Barbados. AC, tell that you’re foriegner who entered Barbados by way of the banana-boat, but I now feel comfortable regarding her assumption, and will take her word as Gospel with respect to your schooling or lack thereof Bushie.


  30. Hamilton Hill July 18, 2015 at 8:23 PM #

    @ observing….You wrote” will the real leader please stand up”. If you have a message for Donville Inniss be man enough and say so.
    @ bushtea. …Please leave my boy Dompey alone.There is much to learn from him.


  31. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 8:26 PM #

    Bush Tea, can you please answer this simple question: where have you attended school in Barbados? GP, Moneybrain and the BU lot are proud to inform us that their have attended Harrison College; a school of national reputation in Barbados. How about doing us the honors Bushie?


  32. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 8:32 PM #

    Bush Tea, I thought so … you chicken…fraud and want to be intellectual. shame on you … you haven’t the testicular fortitude to tell the BU readership where you have attended school in Barbados. Have a great night yah fraud.


  33. Bush Tea July 18, 2015 at 8:42 PM #

    Man David …the delete button ain’t wukking…!!! You mean de scroll past button ..ent it..???

    @ Hamilton Hill
    OK buddy…. but it hurts…. LOL 🙂


  34. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 9:02 PM #

    David, I hope that you have realize by now the Bush Tea is covetous fella? The poor fella feels begrudged if the floodlights aren’t on him at all times and from all angles. I pitty the mother who bear and the father who borne this wreched specimen of humanity.


  35. Colonel Buggy July 18, 2015 at 9:03 PM #

    Dompey Bro, right there in your US of A is an eminent Cardiologist ,who did not go to any brand name school in Barbados,and there are many more professionals,both at home and abroad ,who too have not attended your desired brand name schools.


  36. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 9:16 PM #

    Colonel, you know that the only thing people care about in America is the nature of the school one has attended. Who is this reputable Cardiologist of whom you speak brother? Are you speaking of Doctor Oz or Doctor Atkins, these are the only two cardiologist of national acclaimed I know of?


  37. Dompey July 18, 2015 at 9:39 PM #

    Bush Tea

    I gine see yah tah morraw morin Bushie boy. I gine tah bed now becausing de old lady is meking mah tah gaah tah church en de morin. But as mah maddah usta saa: I love like aa butcher love a pig. Good night and dont let yah godies roll all night papa.


  38. Observing July 19, 2015 at 12:50 AM #

    “what’s wrong with the three major union grappling over the different concerns for their membership?”

    Nothing is wrong except that the major and most critical concerns really aren’t that different at all.

    “Are you saying that a consolidation of these three major unions will put added pressure on government”

    The events of the past week speak for themselves and there are more than three major ones.

    I have yet to see the correction or the misconception. Continue to keep the big picture in mind. Breaks do a great job of sharpening the eyesight and the intuition.

    Let me put some of the common union issues on the table

    general appointments and official establishment of temporary offices
    Interpretation of the PSA (particularly section 13)
    Implementation of the ERA (particularly Part V and schedules 2 and 4)
    periodic consultation (i.e. Social Partnership meetings and meetings with the reporting Ministry/Permanent Secretary)
    specific consultation (i.e. dismissals, redundancies etc.)
    being taken seriously as a partner in the labour/employment process
    lack of current, correct and continuous information from government
    lack of recent bargaining agreements in some areas
    Interpretation of the Statutory Pension Act (particularly section 8)
    Lack of recent salary negotiations or pay increases

    None of these are isolated to any one union. They affect all and that is only the tip of the common iceberg. But, despite the above and more we have the CTUSAB farce masquerading as an umbrella body for all unions. Monsieur Murrell only appears when there are cocktails and a photographer. We have BUT and BSTU forever at loggerheads or poaching from one another quietly. We have BWU still not a part of CTUSAB nor the Social Partnership. We have NUPW who believes (or believed) it has the right to the biggest voice and vote within CTUSAB on all issues. We have Unity Workers Union doing its own thing. WE have the other staff associations and other groups being neither here nor there. It makes an absolute mockery of the phrase “solidarity forever” and emboldens their enemies to continue to divide, conquer and neutralise.

    Just imagine, after the brazen display and show of force earlier this week we now have

    Mr. Waldron begging SSA to have a heart and pay workers when the law says they shouldn’t be
    Mr. MacDowall asking to return to the table for talks
    Miss Moore slowly returning to her passive stance
    BUT, BSTU, and CTUSAB quickly retreating to their comfortable head offices
    The 10-13 BIDC workers still off the job, but with a fatter bank account
    UWU taking up the fight once again with Customs and Immigration
    SSA workers not sure if they’re coming, going or staying
    The roads and the alleys remain stink stink stink
    The canefields and the gullies getting filled with garbage bags every day

    We like um so.

    @David, 7:23

    I heard the latest and overheard the BS that goes with it. Let’s see how long this merry go round will go around.

    Does this sound like we’re making any progress??

    Donville my arse. stupse.

    I love my country. But I also know that we can do much better than this.

    Just observing


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