Whither Labour?

Submitted by Just Observing

The history of the Trade Union movement is a checkered one, but, regardless, it has always been consistently associated with numbers, strength, values and representation. Oh for the good old days. The past 3-5 years has seen a rapid decline in the interest, membership and integrity of our trade unions through the actions (sometimes shameless) of its leaders. It has also seen a clear strategic attempt by the powers at be to “integrate and include” labour when convenient for specific goals and certain silence. Take for example…

After fighting for 23% wage increase with backpay, our leaders capitulated for 5% going back 18 months only

For the first time in the history of Barbados, Trade Unions joined, marched with and locked arms with Private Sector bosses to appeal the NSRL and “reduce cost of living.” Well I am sure we all have seen that reduction.

We have seen bitter battles, contentious insults and massive shots across the bow of a previous government for many matters sometimes minor. Yet, silence abounds in times of clear economic and employment uncertainty even BEFORE Covid-19.

The Social Partnership was touted as a beacon of collaboration and communication. When last has it met? Where’s the BWU’s place? What is a CTUSAB???

It’s clear to a blind man on a trotting horse that trade union leadership and politics are like kith and kin. However, the blatant display of this incestuous relationship recently and the continued tone-deaf actions by the leaders give little to no hope to current members or prospective members. What’s the sense, what’s the point. Think about it….

One can argue that there are more “conversations” and “talks” but to us workers, that’s all it is. Talk. Talk doesn’t rehire or repay. It doesn’t lower the price of gas or goods. It doesn’t give comfort to the temporary or superceded employee. And it sure doesn’t give comfort to those blatantly overlooked and disadvantaged for purely political or nepotistic reasons. To end let’s look at the profiles of our leaders

BUT President – clearly waiting to put on running shoes for a jog to the south east

BSTU President – never a negative word said about her “boss” despite the clear failings and missteps in the sector

NUPW President – Trying to be Houdini and transform into a General Secretary with a full time salary while public workers struggle. Wow.

BWU President – or should I say the MP for St. George and Lord know what else in the organization. What was that verse about God and Mammon?

CTUSAB President – who is CTUSAB President? Does anyone know? oh yes, He is the newly appointed Chief of Security at the Barbados Medicinal Cannabis Licensing Authority. (https://gisbarbados.gov.bb/blog/role-for-security-providers-in-medicinal-cannabis-industry/)

We all know 6 is half dozen, but if employees and workers can’t find a good omelette to eat when they are hungry then it’s a sad day in Barbados. May the good Lord help us. Let’s hope the other Union with that Senator fella continues to scramble some eggs whenever he gets a chance.

63 thoughts on “Whither Labour?

  1. @ David BU

    Is it possible that the unions as we knew them are gradually becoming an anachronism in an evolving different economy and society? We understand what roles they played in the post WWII era. Can we say that the issues faced by workers in this transitional phase are of the same genre? Is there still a” we” and a” they”? Should there not be collaboration rather than contention? Within the last three decades we have legalised the social outcomes of contentions. These pieces of legislations seem to be death knell of unions as we knew them.
    Again just thinking aloud.

    • @Vincent

      The Trade Union model is not fit for purpose and is being manipulated by capital (politicians) at the expense of labour.

  2. @ David BU at 6.05 Pm

    Precisely. You have put my position more succinctly. I would not put the blame entirely on Capital they have gone through their own metamorphosis ,probably ahead of Labour. You are correct the purpose has changed .They both have to adapt themselves to the New Normal.

    • @Vincent

      As far as blame allocation there must be weighting assigned based on roles and responsibilities in civil society. A key factor is that this is a result of a lazy burgeoning so-called middle-class.

  3. @ David BU

    Again I am in agreement with you about the functioning of the Middle Class. From my visits to other blogs and the comments made by thought leaders, I get a sense that instead of making things happen they are waiting for some one else to do the heavy lifting. And this is disconcerting.. But maybe they too are in transition. and plenty is taking place in the background of which we are not aware. I am an optimist and I hope interesting strategies are in the pipeline.

  4. @Vincent
    ” I get a sense that instead of making things happen they are waiting for some one else to do the heavy lifting”

    That’s our challenge as a country. As we often ask, “will the real leaders please stand up??”

    Do any of the current crop give any indication that they are evolving to make things “fit for purpose?”

    Just observing

  5. @ Davie
    N case you missed BBC Breaking News’s Tweet
    UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds were married in a small ceremony at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, No 10 confirms

    People say he is Elton’s biggest UK fan.
    Toffees & truffles, who calling…Sweets n more Sweets….All dem sweeties..

  6. Vincent Codrington

    You have spoken of the changing phenomenon of the Trade Unions of the Post-World War II Era, but we have to talk about the Trade Unions of the 70s and 80s, and how they carried out their mandate, and delivered to the workers what were justly deserving to them.

  7. Vincent Codrington

    As a member of a Trade Union for more than three decades, I have witnessed the changing face of the Trade Union, from the 80s, 90s and in the 2000s, and it is has been disappointing, because the Trade Union has done a poor job in its efforts to negotiating contracts, as well as it has struggled to retained those pensions and benefits that were fought hard for in the previous decades.

  8. @Dompey
    It is 2021. It is up to the paying members of any Union to seek change. If they don’t seek it who will?

  9. The original problems necessitating the rise of Trade Unions such as worker victimization has been all but addressed with the passage of various pieces of legislation and employee/employer rights bills over the years. Just like the crime rate will never be zero, worker victimization, pay issues, etc. will always exist but the traditional trade union issues are now on a much smaller scale than previously and there now exists legal avenues for redress, such as the Employee Rights Tribunal.

    Trade Unions need to recognize their role must change to meet the current and future needs of their membership if they are to attract new members. Their focus should now be on
    1) Ensuring all frameworks supporting all the laws on the statue books affecting their membership are working efficiently and grievances are addressed in a timely manner. e.g. An Employee Rights Tribunal is a great idea but becomes a total waste of time if it is so poorly staffed that simple cases take far too long to be heard.
    2) Empowering their membership with on demand presentations/videos on various topics such as financial management, debt reduction, know your rights, etc.
    3) Encouraging their membership’s entrepreneurial spirit by providing services, training programs, newsletters, etc. relevant to this budding class of worker that needs a different kind support than the traditional worker if this new class is to flourish in the shortest possible time.

    • @CA

      The role of the trade union get more awesome if you factor employer/capital not retooling the business to sustain competitiveness; fit for purpose. Labour is vested in the business sustaining competitiveness.

      Symmonds: Businesses must adapt to survive > > By Colville Mounsey colvillemounsey@nationnews.com > > Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Kerrie Symmonds is > concerned businesses in Barbados are not adapting fast enough to the > COVID-19 environment. > > He said some appear intent on sticking with the storefront model rather > than tapping into the vast potential of online shopping and deliveries. > > In an interview with Sunday Sun, Symmonds, who was responding to concerns > raised by the retail sector over closures due to COVID-19-related > difficulties, said there continued to be an unwillingness to shift from the > old way of doing things. > > Last month, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry warned Barbadians > to brace for the closure of a number of retail stores, especially within > The City, as the protracted hardship of COVID-19 was proving too much. It > was noted then that the customer base had vastly shifted towards malls > and many store owners were now left with few options. The comments followed > news of the closure of Material Things’ flagship outlet in Bridgetown after > more than three decades. > > Symmonds said while he acknowledged that COVID-19 continued to pound the > retail sector, he wanted to see more adaptability from the business sector > to meet the changing times. > > Make model fit > > “It is necessary for all of us, and I mean from the smallest of businesses > to the highest, to sit down and look at their model and to make that model > fit into this environment. It is very important for us to do some > fundamentals and, where possible, to ensure that services are available > online. Social distancing is still a requirement and people are still > reluctant to come out, and I suspect that if you go online and make > yourself accessible, one may see someresults. The bricks and mortar thing > is not the only option,” he said. > > “Businesses must also look at working together to make sure that > deliveries can be done. Even though you are my competitor, we can work > together to make sure that we deliver product and this would not only > ensure that our product gets into other people’s homes and businesses but > that you are employing other small people to deliver the product,” he added. > > The minister pointed out that during the lockdowns to mitigate the spread > of COVID-19, many businesses were trending in this direction, but as soon > as the restrictions were lifted they returned to business as usual. > > “Where I have a lot of concern is that I saw a lot of people doing this > thing instinctively during the COVID-19 shutdowns and immediately after I > am seeing a fall-off of it now. I have a concern with the supermarkets. I > am going to be brutally frank; it disturbs me that if I go to Trinidad and > Tobago business sector website, I can see that they are doing deliveries > to the home by major supermarket chains. I am not seeing it to the same > extent, if at all, in Barbados. It happened during COVID-19 but it has > stopped now. We need to hold the feet of the businesspeople to the fire, > not just Government, because there has to be innovation,” he said. >

      Source: Nation Newspaper


  10. @Hants June 5, 2021 11:19 PM

    It serves us right grabbing at other people’s money we did not rightfully earn and we all know it too.

    What can we expect when China fooled us and almost all the other countries in the world into overreacting and tanking their own economies over a pandemic that would have been like a severe flu season if the real science had been followed instead of ignored and people were treated in a timely manner instead locking down people. The countries are simply tightening their belts and taking back what is rightfully theirs; had to come sooner or later.

    It is high time we do the same and start earning our foreign exchange the proper way i.e. producing and offering tangible products and services unique enough that we can charge a premium for. instead of borrowing money and refinancing debt to prop up foreign reserves to waste buying things we don’t need or can produce locally if we do it right.

  11. @David June 6, 2021 5:07 AM

    That article sounds all sweet and nice and I don’t know what profession Kerrie Symmonds is in or what businesses he has had experience running successfully but what he says is wishful thinking.

    Everything he is telling business people to do is not free at all, it costs money, time, effort and significant risk at a time when businesses just don’t have the funds to survive the cost of failure of said changes. Government is in no different boat than the business sector. The only difference is government has the power to shape, set and change the rules they operate under where businesses must operate under those same rules and can only agitate for changes. The only business I can see in Barbados that has gotten the online ordering correct is Chefette.

    This COVID pandemic has shown how inept almost all governments worldwide and various people we have put in huge decision making position to set policy are.

    • @CA

      All the reasoning you have offered applies if businesses maintain traditional models distributing products and services.

  12. A trade union must aim to resolve a dispute as quickly as possible. However, there is a perception that a trade union may not do so – if it is “politically inconvenient”.
    For example, see https://www.nationnews.com/2016/03/29/all-ah-we-is-one-trade-union-battles/

    The members of the BWU must determine if Ms Toni Moore can effectively represent the interests of the BWU – if there is a dispute between the BLP Government and the BWU. And if there would be a conflict of interest.

  13. It is obvious that trade union mismanagement has come to its disgraceful end. We don’t need unions these days, we need a strong Prime Minister who will work with businessmen to set wage conditions that will make our island internationally competitive. What we urgently need is a ceiling on salaries for local workers of a maximum of USD 10 per hour.

    What is left of the unions should be merged into a single union and placed under the direction of the Minister of Labour. The union assets should be held in trust by the Minister of Labour.

  14. “Political strategy to weaken the Union here in the States”

    There is a pushed by government here in the States to strategically break the Union, by passing pieces of legislation that enables newer employees in private and governmental sector, to choose as to whether or not they wish to participate in the Union.
    Now traditionally, if you were chosen for a particular job with an Union you had no alternative or were forced to pay Union dues, however, newer employees are demanding that they be given option to choose between these two alternative, and thus far, it is an effective strategy by Republican government here in the States to dismantle the Union, and it is working in some States here in the US.

  15. Republican government here is using the old strategy of Divide and Conquer to render the Union ineffective because an effective Union can only be had in the unification of the workforce.

  16. @ Hanis at 11:19 PM

    Thanks for upload. This confirms what I have pointed out for years. It is competition for tax revenues and the death knell for tax havens. The off shore sector is another sector in which we have to press the reset button as well. Managing small open economies is not easy. We need to be a less critical and more supportive of the efforts of Administrations.

    • From what Avinash Persaud is positing, the counter to the OECD move is to lure international companies to headquarter in Barbados.

  17. @ David BU at 2:13.PM

    It all depends on what one means by “headquarter”. Unfortunately that eventuality has already been covered. But lets wait and see.

  18. “Grabbing at money we did not earn” sounds familiar. Where did I hear that before?

    Oh yeah! The white nations who had the forced labour of our African descendants.

  19. They ruled that they must have access to our markets thereby pricing our manufacturers out of our own markets.

    Must they have everything their way????

    Critical Analyzer is a one-eyed jack!

  20. @Vinnie
    “It is competition for tax revenues and the death knell for tax havens. The off shore sector is another sector in which we have to press the reset button as well. Managing small open economies is not easy. We need to be a less critical and more supportive of the efforts of Administrations.”

    Was good to see your contribution. It would appear that in addition to Covid-19, other sectors of our economy will be under attack. The world as we know it is changing. Silly statement.

  21. Walrond calls emergency meeting

    THE NATIONAL UNION OF PUBLIC WORKERS (NUPW) could appoint a general secretary by the end of today, spurning attempts by some members to have president Akanni McDowall elevated to that post.
    Sources told the DAILY NATION that acting general secretary Wayne Walrond has summoned an emergency meeting of the National Council for today and high on the agenda are the posts of general secretary and deputy general secretary.
    Walrond, who has been acting in the leadership position for some time now, could be given the nod since the National Council is responsible for appointing people to those positions.
    Last week he was blindsided when union member, Natalie Murray, submitted a resolution, accompanied by a petition with 135 signatures, to make McDowall leader of the trade union.
    As a result, the NUPW would have to convene a special general meeting within 14 days to allow members to vote on the resolution. The resolution also contained a significant change to the constitution which would involve the leader being referred to as secretary general and holding that position for four years.
    Yesterday sources told the DAILY NATION that even if the meeting proceeds, it would be unauthorised and declared null and void since, according to the rules and standing orders, only the president or the National Council had the right to summon a special meeting at any time.
    When contacted about today’s meeting, which is being held via Zoom, Walrond was tight-lipped, only saying: “You would be informed in due course.”
    During an interview last Friday, he said the move to make McDowall leader could destroy seven decades of governance structures and further jeopardise management relationships at the union.
    Secret meeting
    While McDowall could not be reached for comment, Murray told this newspaper she was appalled to learn of the “secret meeting”.
    “I brought my petition because I have lost confidence in the acting general secretary. Over 100 other union members who signed the said petition feel the same. We want change.
    “I am therefore appalled but not surprised to learn that the acting general secretary is trying to hold on to power by convening a secret meeting to have himself installed as general secretary. How can he justify silencing 135 of his own members? This is highly disrespectful. This meeting is not even allowed according to the rules. He is clearly desperate but this is strictly for the members to decide,” she added.
    McDowall, who has served as president for three terms, was expected to contest that position again next month.
    He, however, said last week that he was willing to serve wherever the membership desired him.
    An NUPW official explained yesterday that nominations for the presidency close on June 24, “long after the special meeting to vote on the resolution”.

    Source: Nation

    • Observing asked ‘whither labour’ in the submission – now we know.

      NUPW showdown
      Police called in as tempers flare at National Council meeting
      POLICE had to be called in yesterday to keep the peace at the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) after a meeting of the National Council came to high words, with some irate members even having to be pulled apart.
      The union has been embroiled in turmoil in recent days in a battle for its leadership.
      Last week member Natalie Murray submitted a resolution, accompanied by a petition with 135 signatures, to the union’s Dalkeith, St Michael headquarters to make NUPW president Akanni McDowall the first secretary general of the largest public sector union, rendering the post general secretary redundant.
      Yesterday, the council met to discuss the issue but came to an impasse with McDowall claiming that the meeting was improperly constituted. Things worsened after Murray, who is not a member of that Council, entered the meeting and refused to leave, which then led to police being summoned.
      Earlier, McDowall said he was ordered to leave a “secret meeting” held with the union’s executive and some of its past general secretaries and presidents.

      Source: Nation

    • Trouble brewing at the NUPW

      THERE WAS CHAOS at the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) as the ongoing fight for its leadership heated up yesterday.
      Police even had to be called in to the Dalkeith Road, St Michael headquarters to quell the melee that erupted during a meeting of the National Council.
      The meeting, which was convened at 2 p.m. to discuss a petition to make NUPW president Akanni McDowall the first secretary general, as well as to discuss the position of the general secretary, deteriorated after the petition’s proposer Natalie Murray, who is not a member of the National Council, walked in an hour after and refused to leave when asked.
      The ensuing fracas spilled over into the cafeteria adjoining the meeting room, and even members of the media had to help diffuse the situation by pulling some angry individuals apart.
      Police arrived just before 4 p.m. and despite their strong presence for 90 minutes, there was no resolution to the impasse. The meeting had to be adjourned to a date still to be determined.
      It was revealed that the council appointed second vice-president Charles Bostic as the chair, who would also preside over the rescheduled meeting.
      McDowall, however, has already indicated his intention to challenge this move, arguing that the rules did not allow for such a provision.
      Acting deputy general secretary Richard Greene said that even before the entrance of Murray, the meeting was off to a contentious start after both McDowall and acting general secretary Wayne Walrond were asked to recuse themselves from the meeting, given that it was standard practice for officiants not to be involved in deliberations that related to their tenure. He said Walrond left as instructed, but McDowall refused to, charging that the meeting was improperly constituted in the first place.
      “There were some unfortunate events relative to how that meeting was conducted. The president held the position that the meeting was convened outside of the rules and standing orders of the union. The members of the council disagreed with that opinion and asked the meeting to continue as they had instructed the general secretary to. What was instructive at that meeting was that since the matters related directly to the president and the general secretary, they were both asked to recuse themselves from the meeting. The general secretary stepped out of the meeting, but the president did not,” Greene said.
      He added the meeting was not convened by Walrond as previously asserted by some people, but rather the National Council wrote to the acting general secretary demanding the urgent meeting.
      “Things escalated to the point where the proposer of the resolution and petition barged into the meeting, even though that proposer was not a member of the National Council. She refused to leave the meeting and subsequently the police were brought in,” he said, noting that in his 27 years as an employee of the NUPW he had never seen such an escalation of events.
      In response, McDowall said he felt duty bound to ensure the council did not veer down the wrong path with regards to the legality of the meeting.
      “I came here to this meeting to tell council members that the meeting that was called by the general secretary was not constitutional and therefore we needed to defer the meeting until a time and place that would allow the meeting to be constitutionally held. I told the members here that I am not against anybody discussing anything. I certainly would be willing to facilitate any meeting, but there needed to be a process and that process was clearly outlined in the constitution.
      “Even after that advisement, the council still felt they should continue with the meeting and I held my ground,” said McDowall, who was flanked by Murray and other supporters.
      He added: “The union is run by rules and regulations and if you don’t follow rules and regulations, you are going to have anarchy . . . . My feeling on the whole matter is that members have a right to speak, members have a right to discuss issues that are before them, but let us do it properly.”

      Source: Nation

    • Atherley: Politics in move
      OPPOSITION LEADER Bishop Joseph Atherley says the move to have National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) president Akanni McDowall become its first secretary general “has the fingerprints of political actors all over it”.
      He told the MIDWEEK NATION he believed a concerted effort was being made to undermine the effectiveness of the trade union movement.
      He added that labour needed to stand up and take notice before one of this country’s major bastions of workers’ rights was rendered impotent.
      Making reference to the decision of Toni Moore, general secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union, to join the fold of the ruling Barbados Labour Party, the Opposition Leader said the labour movement could ill afford to lose the NUPW to partisan political agendas.
      “I am very concerned as to what is happening with union leadership in Barbados and I am particularly concerned with what is happening now in the NUPW, which is the largest representative body for public servants in Barbados.
      “I am concerned that there are persons in Barbados whose agenda is to make sure that the potency of union leadership is reduced, and that the effectiveness of unions on a whole is diluted. I have a view that there is a lot of politics at play in this development and an attempt is being made to ensure that certain partisan interest within the NUPW is given a greater certainty of tenure with respect to the leadership,” said Atherley.
      “There is more than one way in which a political agenda could be meted out, especially with respect to union leadership.
      “There are those who are already acquainted with what has happened with respect to the Barbados Workers’ Union and now we have to be concerned about what is playing out with the NUPW. There are forces outside of the NUPW who have a political agenda and they are trying to ensure that those who serve their interests stay in power for as long as possible.”
      Atherley argued that infighting only served to divide the union at a time when labour was under increasing threat from capital.
      “This is a time when workers need to be as unified as possible because of the threats out there,” he said. (CLM)

      Source: Nation

  22. Unionists: Out with the politics

    THERE SHOULD BE no room in a trade union for political influences, but Senator Caswell Franklyn says it is fast becoming too late.
    The veteran trade unionist, who heads Unity Workers Union, said it was already too late for the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) and the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) was swiftly heading in the same direction as politics was at the heart of the attempt to make NUPW president Akanni McDowall the union’s first secretary general.
    “When this present administration realised how dangerous unions can be if not controlled, they set about to control them . . . . The NUPW is the next battleground because there are still a lot of ‘Dems’ (Democratic Labour Party supporters) who will not stand idly by and allow the NUPW to be completely taken over by the Barbados Labour Party (BLP). The problem is, the union should not be controlled by any political party.
    “This is a fight to control the trade union movement in Barbados – the BLP has already captured the BWU and they will make the NUPW follow suit or die trying,” Franklyn said, adding the ruling administration also had a measure of control over the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados (CTUSAB).
    Last week, NUPW member Natalie Murray submitted a resolution, accompanied by a petition with 135 signatures to the union’s Dalkeith, St Michael headquarters to make McDowall secretary general of the largest public sector union, rendering the post of general secretary redundant.
    On Tuesday, police had to be called in to keep the peace after a very heated follow-up meeting of the union’s National Council, with some members even having to be pulled apart.
    Franklyn said political fingers had been snaking into trade union affairs for a long time.
    “Political shenanigans have been going on for years but it reached a height when the Barbados Labour Party enlisted the help of all the unions of Barbados to secure [an election] victory, all except Unity Workers Union of course. When [it] did that, and saw how effective it could be, [it] harassed [former Prime Minister] Freundel [Stuart] and made the last administration very miserable. Even things which were in the best interest of workers, like the NSRL (the National Social Responsibility Levy), they had everybody demonising it,” he said.
    ‘Did not look good’
    Franklyn said there was no fear his union would become compromised by the People’s Party for Democracy and Development despite his being chosen by its head, Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley, to be a senator for the Opposition.
    “When [Bishop] Atherley asked me to become a senator, it was with specific instructions to speak from my heart, whether or not I agreed with him. He is not looking for anyone to follow him blindly, and besides, I’m not looking to run
    in any election. Somebody must look out for workers; no one else is doing it,” he said.
    Former deputy general secretary of the BWU, Robert “Bobby” Morris, also said the current unrest within the NUPW did not look good.
    “Bad press is not good for any trade union movement. What is happening at the NUPW seems to be a constitutional matter and for a union as old as the NUPW, the procedure should be very clear. To me, the union should be looking internally for a secretary general but somehow, it missed the boat in terms of grooming someone from within its ranks.
    “If it is a political group which is calling for Akanni to become secretary general, that does not augur well for the union,” he said.
    Sir Roy Trotman, the former BWU general secretary, said it was not his place to speak on the internal affairs of the NUPW as he did not think that would help matters.
    General secretary of CTUSAB, Dennis de Peiza, said the agency did not get involved in the internal affairs of member unions, but the umbrella body would intervene if asked to do so.


  23. Former deputy general secretary of the NUPW Dr. Derek Alleyne lost to the BLP’s Rommel Marshall in St. Michael West Central in 1994 and 1999 (http://www.caribbeanelections.com/bb/constituencies/SMWC.asp).

    BUT president Pedro Shepherd has been eyeing St. Michael East for a decade now (https://www.nationnews.com/2012/08/06/trio-after-dlp-ticket/).

    BUT General Secretary Toni Moore took the baton from Gline Clarke for the Bees. There are warring factions at the NUPW. The silence of the teachers’ unions is as unprecedented as COVID and meetings with members are out of style.

    A recent former BSTU vice president is now an ambassador while another continues acting as Chief Education Officer. BSTU president Mary Redman has also become more understanding of government’s efforts (https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/02/13/bstu-urges-educators-to-be-patient/).

    When former BUT presidents Minister Jones, Parliamentary Secretary Harry Jones and Chief Best were in charge the BSTU was much more aggressive. Remember Alexandra.

    CTUSAB is just as useless. The first vice president is the man eyeing St. Michael South East. He will soon look to his school Wilkie Cumberbatch to push his ambitions. A former CTUSAB president accepted the chairmanship of a secondary school board from the former government while president.
    So President O’Neal is just following suit.

    We are witnessing the unions’ collapse. Their members are leaderless, misguided or being led astray by the political agendas their leaders represent, bold opportunists and union parasites feeding on the dues of members.

    • What can the workers do?

      A trade union is setup that the workers should be able to demand change?

      The truth is like most member bodies in Barbados there is a high level of apathy.

      Where do we go from here?

  24. @ all
    The unions were duped by the Duopoly to sit at the table of something called a Social Partnership. And then like magic, we could not tell the pigs from the humans; just like Animal Farm.
    Union leaders paraded in marches in their party of choice colors. Any half ah fool would have discerned that they had stupidly carried a joke too far.
    But, it has always been like this with the unions. The leaders are either members of the Dees or the Bees and these days, Union leaders see themselves as part of a partnership that muzzles them and have them eating crumbs from the politicians table.
    So, if it’s the BEES turn to dominate them that is in keeping with the status quo. Quite frankly Mottley and company is using the same stick that beat Tom to beat Harry.
    I remember as a young unionist, my Union wanted to protest some issue while Barrow was PM. We approached the BWU for some support. The “ heavy roller”- Sir Frank Walcott told our delegation: “Flying fish can’t swim with Sharks “
    Back then the unions in great measure were in the pocket of the DEES. What goes around comes around.
    A bundle of bold faced hypocrites pretending that unions should be free of politics. Their memories are conveniently short. Mia is large and in charge . She is very much like her “ real” grandfather , Barrow. She publicly said that when she got home from school
    , he was there to greet her. Lessons learnt. Brek them up Mia!

    • And while the union leaders were duped so too the general body consisting of ordinary educated workers. We are all vested in the outcomes.

  25. @ David
    Of late , I have been quite impressed by your efforts to come across as balanced. I sincerely hope you join us who have written off the BLPDLP.
    Good governance cannot be measured by constantly trying to give ones party some fake moralistic pass.
    These two parties continued dominance ,is a testimony to how , in some cases unintentionally decent , law abiding citizens, get drawn into political skullduggery.
    They are seeing the same movie every weekend but unfortunately think that it will end differently.
    And that’s the tragedy of it all . The sad reality is that we seem incapable of calling a spade a spade.
    There is always a defining moment in events. For me , it was Barrows public order act of 1974.
    The second defining moment was when Tom Adams got on the floor of the house and said that the collective bargaining process must never be broken. He was in opposition when Barrow had legislated salaries. Tom did the same thing about two years later.
    By then O’Brien Trotman was the general secretary of the NUPW. He ended up as a Senator and minister.
    So, the Toni Moore episode is nothing new.
    Nobody plants okra and reap corn.
    Those who continue to see hope in the Duopoly or try with long basically regurgitated nonsense to prove there is some difference live in world of make belief.

  26. At 3.15 am on 11 June 2021, David asked –

    “What can the workers do?”

    The workers can seek to change the trade union or they can leave it.

    The argument for being or becoming a trade union member is very feeble – if the trade union places its political interests before the interests of its members.

    • @William

      The blogmaster is not trying to impress boy or girl, only to stay try to conscience and ideals.

  27. The hot air being spewed by the NUPW president trying to catapult himself into the position of General Secretary to be renamed Secretary General is timely. As the blogmaster stated in the preceding comment, it shall be up to the membership read You, You and You.

  28. @ Paula Sealy June 10, 2021 11:41 PM
    We are witnessing the unions’ collapse. Their members are leaderless, misguided or being led astray by the political agendas their leaders represent, bold opportunists and union parasites feeding on the dues of members. (Unquote).

    That’s a fair prediction on the inevitable predicament of trade unionism in Bim.

    Very few workers in the coming jig economy would waste their money joining a trade union given the quality of the current leadership and the blatant political partisanship on display in the decision-making process of the ‘major’ politically-controlled unions like the NUPW and now BWU.

    Future employees in the tourism industry would be engaged on contracts which would effectively preclude them from joining trade unions.

    The existing unions can expect to see a significant drop in members right across the local labour market and, as a consequence, membership dues which make up a significant share of the revenues needed to underwrite the highly-remunerated management payroll.

    Not even Caswell’s small outfit can save the workers and the unions sorry asses.

  29. NUPW affair goes on air
    The present discord at the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) dominated the popular
    Down To Brass Tacks radio call-in programme yesterday morning with several members of the public calling in to discuss the matter with moderator David Ellis.
    Union member, Natalie Murray, who brought the controversial resolution that has literally placed the union in a tailspin, defended her actions saying: “I would not do anything to destroy the union. The reason why I brought the resolution is that for the past three years the national council of NUPW refused to appoint a general secretary,” she said, adding there were thousands of workers who were paying their dues but not receiving representation.
    “For the last six years Akanni McDowall was the only person who we saw vigorously representing workers in this country,” she noted, pointing out that as president he could not do as much as the general secretary.
    First vice-president Kim Webster agreed with Murray.
    She said the special meeting to vote on McDowall’s promotion to secretary general will be held on Thursday at 5 p.m at the Horatio Cooke Auditorium.
    Responding to criticisms about his stewardship over the past six months, acting general secretary
    Wayne Walrond charged that obstacles had been put in his way.
    He said the proposed change to the constitution would give McDowall “absolute maximum power”.
    In terms of the disruption of this week’s national council meeting, he said: “If this behaviour is the way forward, God help NUPW . . . . People are looking on and they are disgusted.”
    No support
    Council member Fabian Jones also spoke on the matter, criticising his nemesis, whom he had competed against for the post of president.
    He suggested that McDowall did not have the support of any of the arms of the NUPW.
    “The discord, a lot of it surrounds him and his stewardship. So it needs someone who has that relationship with the council, he doesn’t; the secretariat, he doesn’t; the divisional committees . . . he doesn’t to a certain extent. So to appoint a such a person in such a position would only escalate the discord that is being felt at this time,” Jones said.
    However, McDowall defended himself, pointing out that this was not the first time a general secretary had been appointed by a special conference. He reiterated that there would be no changes to how the general secretary presently operates.
    “The members have indicated
    to me that they want me to fulfil this position as general secretary, here on referred to as secretary general. The position is no different than what exists now. It is not about absolute power. When this meeting is called all that will happen is that the vote is taken by the membership . . . . The difference is that the secretary general position is [for] a four-year period as opposed to the general secretary, which is at the pleasure of national council,” he said.
    However, a caller associated with the union questioned who would be conducting the voting and overseeing next week’s special meeting. (MB)

    Source: NATION NEWS

  30. Interesting workers at Sandy Lane have turned to government. We recall what happened the last time when BWU went against Sandy Lane. Labour is struggling.

    BWU raises concerns over Sandy Lane salary cut
    Workers at the world renowned five-star Sandy Lane hotel are upset about a salary cut.
    As a result, the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU) is calling on Government to put stringent legislation in place to stop employers infringing the rights of workers.
    Some workers told the Sunday Sun that their wages were cut by about 15 per cent.
    “You have to work a 40-hour week only to be paid for 32 hours and some staff members, after deductions, are going home with only $3.96,” said one disgruntled staffer at the West Coast hotel, who requested anonymity.
    “The staff at Sandy Lane are suffering every day and are stressed out to the max, yet Sandy Lane still expects the staff to perform duties at 100 per cent.”
    In a statement on Friday, the BWU asked the Chief Labour Officer to investigate the matter.
    “It was brought to the attention of the Executive Council of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), that at or around the end of April 2021, the Sandy Lane hotel sought to alter the conditions of work for some members of staff.
    “These changes followed correspondence sent by
    the management requesting acceptance of a proposed pay reduction. Though the proposal was met with vehement refusal from a significant number of staff, the hotel’s management presumptuously proceeded to apply the said reductions dictated in the document.
    “On May 7, the BWU wrote to the management of the property, informing them of the breach and pressing for a restoration of all monies to the affected staff by May 14, 2021. This letter of representation was also copied to the Chief Labour Officer . . . requesting that the matter be investigated, with a view to having an urgent resolution to the grievance, so as to avoid any unfortunate delays in the receipt of retroactive payments to the staff.”
    Do more
    The BWU said Government needed to do more to protect workers’ rights, especially during the ongoing pandemic.
    “Upon receipt of the letter from the BWU, the Sandy Lane management responded that they would be seeking legal advice in the matter.
    “In far too many instances, especially since the start of this pandemic, the BWU has found itself battling in the defence of workers
    who have had their conditions of employment unilaterally varied by some establishment or other.
    “There is a need for more stringent legislation to be enacted by the Government, for implementation by the Labour Department that sends a stronger message to corporate entities who seek to defy our laws in the protection of workers’ rights and wages in this country,” the statement said. (SB)

  31. Union’s vote moves to LESC
    THE SPECIAL GENERAL CONFERENCE to vote on a resolution to appoint Akanni McDowall as secretary general of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) will now take place at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre (LESC) on Thursday.
    Acting general secretary Wayne Walrond said yesterday it was switched from the union’s Dalkeith, St Michael headquarters to the LESC to facilitate the COVID-19 protocols.
    “We sought to have more amenable accommodation,” he said. Walrond reiterated that the move to install McDowall in the new position would create a constitutional crisis in the union. “They are asking that the special conference immediately install brother Akanni McDowall, the president, to that position for four years and suspend some aspects of the constitution at 12A, which speaks to the duties of a secretary general.
    “It creates a constitutional issue because the post of general secretary is a full-time post which falls under the pleasure of the National Council to make that appointment. Therefore what I am seeing playing out on social media, this is not one of the elected posts such as like president, first, second and third vicepresident . . . so this will create a constitutional issue because it is a post provided for within the structure of the union.”
    He added: “There is a clear structure within the union for paid staff. We do not have any provision for any other type of person within our constitution.”
    McDowall has been busy campaigning for the new position. In what could be called a manifesto entitled Support Good Representation,
    he gives a detailed background on his affiliation with the trade union movement and the NUPW, and also explains the resolution which was brought by member Natalie Murray, along with a petition of 135 members, almost two weeks ago.
    McDowall once again stressed that the secretary general position would not give
    him absolute power since there were no differences between that and the general secretary.
    In terms of if politics was involved in the petition, a question that has dogged his candidacy since it was proposed, the president said: “Members are citizens and are entitled to have their political affiliations, but we must never allow tribalism to infiltrate or political associations to guide the decision-making at the union. The rights of workers must always be paramount and this is something I will always stoutly defend and stand guard against.”
    Regarding who will chair the meeting on Thursday, he said: “The rules speak about the chairing in order of seniority. Therefore, if I am unable to chair the meeting, then that responsibility goes to the first vice-president, or the second vicepresident, and so on.”
    He also dismissed suggestions that he was taking away “Wayne Walrond’s job”.
    “Certainly not. The post of general secretary is currently vacant and it has been for the last three years. Brother Waldron has been acting general secretary for six months but his substantive position is assistant general secretary,” he said. (MB)


  32. NUPW secures meeting

    Union leaving nothing to chance as massive crowd expected

    SECURITY WILL BE tight for today’s meeting to decide on the contentious bid to make president of the National Union of Public Workers Akanni McDowall its first secretary general.
    Acting deputy general secretary of the union Richard Green said given the fracas which ensued last week during a meeting of the union’s National Council to discuss the issue, resulting in the police being called in, nothing was being left to chance.
    He said based on the overwhelming interest in this afternoon’s proceedings, it was anticipated that a “massive crowd” would be in attendance.
    He said in addition to security personnel at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, the police had been officially asked to help keep the peace.
    Green said only members who were fully paid up for the last three months would be allowed into the meeting, noting that officers from the records department would be present to check the names against the 6 500 currently on the NUPW roll.
    Raised tensions
    “I want to reassure the members of the NUPW that the special general meeting, which will begin at 5 p.m., will be conducted in a manner befitting of an organisation that consists of membership throughout the public service, from the ancillary to the judiciary. The managers of the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre are providing us with
    additional security. It is no secret that this resolution has resulted in raised tensions and tempers and persons have approached this much like a campaign. So we have spoken to the Royal Barbados Police Force about additional security and the membership can feel comfortable that we will not have a repeat of what we had last week,” said Green.
    He added: “Let me also take this opportunity to repeat for clarity, a member of the union is one whose dues are fully up to date. According to rules of the union if you owe more than three months dues then you are not considered a full member. So definitely only those persons that have full membership would be allowed into the meeting. We have our membership records department double checking things as we speak to ensure that only eligible members are able to participate.”
    The resolution brought by NUPW member Natalie Murray proposes that Rule 12 which provides that “the General Secretary be a full-time paid officer appointed by the National Council and shall hold office during the pleasure of the Union” be suspended for one year and “the President become the General Secretary (hereon referred to as Secretary General) for four years as a full time paid officer of the Union, appointed by the National Conference effective immediately.”
    Two-thirds majority
    Explaining the format of the meeting, Green said that as the proposer, Murray would be given an opportunity to make the case for the resolution and this would be followed by a discussion among the membership to determine if it merits going to a vote. Should it go to a vote, the resolution would need two-thirds majority in order to be successful.
    “The proposer of the resolution will first
    have to prove the merits of their case in seeking to have it voted on. They would be tasked with convincing the membership of how it is going to work and how it is going to function within the parameters of the constitution. There will be arguments against as well and then the membership will determine if it will go forward for a vote. So, it is not a simple process of coming in and voting as some persons have been led to believe,” he said.
    When contacted, Acting General Secretary Wayne Walrond said he was satisfied with all of the arrangements made, adding that his wish was for the meeting to be held in strict adherence to the rules.
    The DAILY NATION also made multiple attempts to reach McDowall to ascertain his comfort level with the arrangements for today’s proceedings but was unsuccessful.

    Source: Nation

  33. @Skinner, @David and all… The unions were ***”duped’****
    😂😂😂. Seriously, gentlemen. To suggest that any of Sir Frank Walcott, Sir Roy Trotman, Joe Goddard, Jones etc were led ‘unknowingly’ or ‘deceived’ into partnerships (dare I say unions) with the governing party of the day is to defy commonsense, logic and basic history and both you gentlemen are much too intelligent and knowledgable to try that folly.

    Thus, I do like your comedic turn!

    In very simple terms sans the lotta long talk analysis (or excellent references like those made by the blogger @Pamela above) I will suffice to say: BOTH parties have the word ‘LABOUR’ in their name… so how in heaven’s name are we now shocked and concerned of the nexus between our local unions and party politics! 🙈

    And on the issue of change … I believe @Northern said it as crisply as can be: “… It is up to the paying members of any Union to seek change. If they don’t seek it who will?”

    Whither this gnashing of teeth o’er the unrest in the unions or their need to adapt… 1) of course the need to change is as constant as life itself and 2) unions have been undergoing this major structural splintering of their foundational woodwork for at least the last 25 years broadly and more specifically and dramatically (locally and otherwise) for the last 10.

    So I hear the angst but cant quite understand the rhetoric that they NOW need to take heed … that’s just hot air … because if they havent or had not long ago modified to address the changed structures then they are already dead.

    And to you again @David, I am sure Mr Persaud knows his stuff as you suggested but spewing advice that any first year Econ or Bus college student would offer can’t be an indicator of his expertise, surely. Blogger @Vincent alluded to the fact that THAT construct is an old model (in Bim and beyond)…. afterall, that was the intent in getting Intel to come here and ‘HQ’ a semi-conductor plant in the region, not so… and the many others lured with the various tax incentives.

    And thus back to the start .. this time in French…. just to reinforce that even the Frenchies were saying this eons ago 😎: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même

    ‘Secretary General’ , eh… sounds fancy tho… sounds like he preparing for a region wide or world union post, yuh!.

    Power shennagins … “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great [and not so great] men [and women] are almost always bad…”

    I gone.

  34. Controversial end to NUPW meeting

    By Colville Mounsey

    The controversial special general meeting to decide on the bid to make president of the National Union of Public Workers, Akanni McDowall, its first secretary general, has been called off indefinitely.
    Yesterday, even as people were in a long queue outside the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre trying to get past the security check points, the decision was taken to adjourn the meeting sine die after a call made by the meeting chair for individuals to bring the motion, went unanswered.
    Prior to this, McDowall was asked to recuse himself from the meeting. It was also unclear if the initial proposer of the resolution, Natalie Murray, was present in the room at the time, even though she was seen entering the building accompanied by legal counsel.
    According to the union rules, in order for this issue to receive any further ventilation among the membership, a fresh resolution must be brought. Upon exiting the meeting, tensions were still high among those in attendance. Some who did not want to be identified as they were interviewed, said the entire development was one of the lowest points in the union’s history.
    Following the meeting which came to an abrupt end at 6 p.m., neither McDowall nor Murray gave reasons why the motion was not brought despite being pressed by the media for an explanation.
    McDowall, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the process, claiming an attempt was made to disenfranchise some people who wanted to be part of the democratic process.
    “Today’s events are quite unfortunate. I would have sat in the chair and I would have indicated that I was willing to recuse myself since I was part of the resolution. I explained to the general membership that was in the room that because of the protocols there were hundreds of people who were outside trying to get in. There were some people who were being denied access and they needed to be able to get into the meeting so that they can participate in the democratic process,” said McDowall, who was flanked by Murray and other supporters.
    He further explained: “The credentials committee came back to me and said that they were having some challenges with persons getting into the meeting, so therefore I humbly asked that persons be allowed to come into the meeting so that we could have a full democratic process. Upon that request, some members, who perhaps felt that the numbers in the room were on their side, insisted that they should continue with the meeting. The security then came to me and said that he was instructed that I be removed
    from the meeting, I tried to explain the union rules, but he insisted, and I left the meeting.”
    However, acting general secretary of the NUPW, Wayne Walrond, said the democratic process was well served and was in no way subverted, arguing that the vote to adjourn the meeting was in essence a resounding rejection of the motion. He said now that the matter was behind them, steps must be taken to ensure there was not a repeat of it.
    Walrond said: “Let me say that this situation is a learning experience. There are lessons to be learnt from this experience and we thank God that he has put the union first. The members have come out and demonstrated that they are putting the union first, but we have to make some decisions to ensure that this unfortunate situation does not repeat itself and we need to chart the way forward to improve the union and its image.”
    He added: “I don’t want to give too much detail, but the meeting went in the direction of not supporting the resolution. The workers made a determination that the union must be put first and therefore anything that seeks to destabilise the union cannot be the workers’ agenda. We are happy that we can now move forward from this and look at making some decisions that we put the union first and it grows from strength to strength. We are not getting into any controversy or contention, democracy has prevailed and a decision has been made.”
    The resolution brought by Murray proposed that Rule 12 which provides that “the general secretary be a full-time paid officer appointed by the national council and shall hold office during the pleasure of the union” be suspended for one year and “the president become the general secretary (hereon referred to as secretary general) for four years as a full-time paid officer of the union, appointed by the national conference effective immediately.”

    Source: Nation News

  35. Recompense for union leaders?

    NUPW suspends McDowall
    Embattled president of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall will not be contesting a third term, having been suspended by the National Council on Wednesday evening.
    According to a document reportedly signed by acting general secretary Wayne Walrond, the council took the decision at its emergency meeting to suspend McDowall with immediate effect as a member and as president.
    He has also been suspended from holding all other offices held on behalf of the NUPW in accordance with Rule 17 of the union’s constitution.
    McDowall has 30 days to appeal the decision and while the document does not state the reason for his suspension, a source who was present at the meeting said the suspension was pending investigations into allegations that McDowall brought the NUPW into disrepute.
    Not submitted
    The Weekend Nation was also been reliably informed that McDowall has not submitted a nomination paper for the post of presidency to the NUPW secretariat, which closed the nomination process at 4 p.m. yesterday.
    “Mr McDowall was not present at the meeting and I can tell you that there were only very few voices that objected to the decision. Whether or not he [McDowall] can participate in the elections would depend on if the matter is resolved by
    the July 15 election date. The National Council meeting was largely attended and we now have to wait until the process runs its course,” the source said.
    When contacted, McDowall said the matter was in the hands of his lawyer. He said he was indeed informed of the suspension but had no idea what the charges were. He also raised questions about the process, contending that he had never seen anyone in the union face disciplinary action. He added that the timing of the move was also cause for suspicion.
    “The irony is that if we were to face an employer that did something similar, without stating why an employee was being punished or hearing their side of the story, the union would be up in arms.
    “In my 20 years in the NUPW, I have never seen anyone face disciplinary action, but there is a clear process, including bringing such matters before the membership first. Why was this not done? What is even more convenient is the fact that today (Thursday) is nomination day for the presidency and because of this suspension, I am being prevented from being nominated to run as president of the NUPW. Maybe this is their intention,” said McDowall.
    He also accused the decision-making body of being infiltrated by bad actors who do not have the NUPW’s best interest at heart, while making it clear that he “wants no part of it.
    “It must be patently clear to all and sundry why such an unconventional approach
    was taken last week. There is an infiltration of the decision-making body of the union, giving them over to bad advice, to constant contravention of the rules and regulations of the union and to the detriment of representation of the workers,” McDowall said.
    “These parasitic actors are determined to make the union their puppet, and frankly, I want no part of it. That being said, I have spoken to my lawyer and we will respond accordingly.” The Weekend Nation reached out to Walrond for comment on the rationale for the action taken, but he said he was not in a position to comment at this time.
    McDowall was at the centre of a highly controversial and ultimately unsuccessful bid to make him the first secretary general of the union.

    Source: Nation

  36. Akanni’s charges

    NUPW council moves against suspended president
    by COLVILLE MOUNSEY colvillemounsey@nationnews. com
    THE NATIONAL COUNCIL of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) has levelled six charges against suspended president Akanni McDowall, a well-placed source has revealed.
    Last month the National Council took the decision to suspend the embattled president pending investigations into allegations that he brought the NUPW into disrepute. However, following an emergency meeting at the union’s Dalkeith, St Michael headquarters yesterday, the decision was taken to bring the six charges. Additionally, a disciplinary committee was established to deal with the issue, which has played out in the public domain in recent weeks.
    It was charged that on June 2 to June 17, McDowall encouraged and promoted a resolution which sought to install him as secretary general of the organisation for four years, contrary to Rule 10(a)1), Rule 10(a)iv) and Rule 12 (a)(i). He is further charged with engaging in conduct in a manner “that was set to create chaos and calculated to bring the union into disrepute, and therefore liable to be sanctioned in accordance with Rule 17 (a) (ii)”.
    It was also alleged that while as president, McDowall was party to a petition that defamed senior staff members. He is also accused of entering the NUPW secretariat around 3:15 p.m. on June 16 and taking a photograph of a cheque dated June 17, 2021, payable to Larry Smith QC for legal services.
    McDowall is required to answer to the allegation of failing to present himself to the NUPW to sign cheques before the designated payday to ensure that staff were paid on time. The final accusation on the list dealt with usurping the general secretary.
    McDowall was not present at the meeting, which began at 10:30 a.m. and did not conclude until around 4 p.m.
    No response
    The source revealed that since the National Council suspended him on June 23, there had been no response from the president who, as a consequence of the suspension, has also been disqualified from seeking a third term in the July 15 union elections.
    “We have not heard a response from McDowall with regards to his suspension. We have been hearing rumblings of pending legal action, but the union has not yet been served with anything. So, the ball is in his court. These charges are all based on the facts as they happened,” the source said.
    The MIDWEEK NATION reached out to McDowall who said he was unaware of the emergency National Council meeting yesterday, adding he was not going to comment on matters of which he had no knowledge. However, when pressed as to whether legal action against his accusers was in the works, he said his lawyer would speak to this in due course.
    At the time of his suspension, McDowall said he had no idea what the charges were. He also raised questions about the process, contending that he had never seen anyone in the union face disciplinary action.
    He said the timing of the move was also cause for suspicion, coming on the cusp of nomination day.
    “The irony is that if we were to face an employer that did something similar, without stating why an employee was being punished or hearing their side of the story, the union would be up in arms.
    “In my 20 years in the NUPW, I have never seen anyone face disciplinary action, but there is a clear process, including bringing such matters before the membership first. Why was this not done? What is even more convenient is the fact that today (Thursday) is nomination day for the presidency and because of this suspension, I am being prevented from being nominated to run as president of the NUPW. Maybe this is their intention,” McDowall said then.

    Source: Nation

  37. NUPW told restore Akanni, or else

    Lawyers give union ultimatum
    The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) has until today to reinstate its embattled president, Akanni McDowall, who was suspended more than two weeks ago.
    Failing that, the union’s elections slated for July 15, could be hit with an injunction.
    The Weekend Nation was reliably informed that attorneys for McDowall fired off a letter to acting general secretary Wayne Walrond last Wednesday, the day after the NUPW instituted six charges against McDowall, “demanding”, among other things, his reinstatement.
    Legal letter
    According to the legal letter, a copy of which was obtained by this newspaper, the law office, Clarke Gittens Farmer, in its handdelivered letter to the NUPW, indicated that the memo which was sent to McDowall on June 23, suspending him from the trade union, was “in breach of the rules and the laws of natural justice as our client was never given any, much less proper, opportunity to be heard by the National Council or of meeting the charges brought against him. In the circumstances, we have advised our client that the decision is null and void”.
    Continuing, the letter called not only for McDowall’s reinstatement but also for the elections to be delayed by two weeks to give McDowall the opportunity to prepare.
    It noted: “We now write on behalf of our client demanding that the National Council: immediately issue a memorandum withdrawing our client’s purported suspension; communicate the withdrawal of the purported suspension of our client to all bodies and entities that you have advised of the purported suspension; extend the period for submitting a member’s candidacy by two (2) weeks and delay the NUPW elections and all associated formalities to account for the campaigning time lost by our client and any other member as a result of the decision; and agree to indemnify our client in respect of the costs to which he has been put in this matter.”
    The letter concluded with a threat of court action: “Should we fail to hear from you within forty-eight (48) hours of the date of this letter, we will apply to the Court on behalf of our client for the appropriate injunctive relief and compensation for loss without further reference to you.”
    When contacted yesterday about this latest development, McDowall and Walrond were tight-lipped, with Walrond saying: “I cannot comment at this time.”
    Last Tuesday the National
    Council of the NUPW laid six charges against McDowall, namely that on June 2 to June 17 he encouraged and promoted a resolution which sought to install him as secretary general of the organisation for four years, contrary to Rule 10(a)1), Rule 10(a)iv) and Rule 12 (a) (i); that he engaged in conduct in a manner “that was set to create chaos and calculated to bring the union into disrepute, and therefore liable to be sanctioned in accordance with Rule 17 (a) (ii)”; that while as president, he was party to a petition that defamed senior staff members.
    McDowall is also accused of entering the NUPW secretariat around 3:15 p.m. on June 16 and taking a photograph of a cheque dated June 17, 2021, payable to Larry Smith QC for legal services, and that he failed to present himself to the NUPW to sign cheques before the designated payday to ensure that staff were paid on time. This turmoil stemmed from a failed resolution brought by member Natalie Murray last month to make McDowall the new secretary general of the NUPW for four years.
    Murray also faces disciplinary charges.

    Source: Nation

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