Fresh NUPW pro­posal to Govt

FROM LEFT, Fabian Jones, Akanni Mcdowall, Del­cia Burke and Asokore Beck­les of the Na­tional Union of Pub­lic Work­ers ad­dress­ing the me­dia af­ter last night’s meet­ing.

Daily Nation (Barbados) - - Front Page -

THE EX­EC­U­TIVE of the Na­tional Union of Pub­lic Work­ers (NUPW) will be send­ing a counter-pro­posal to the Min­istry of the Civil Ser­vice as early as to­day on what it be­lieves is an ad­e­quate “cop­ing mech­a­nism” for pub­lic ser­vants.

This was one of the de­ci­sions made af­ter the NUPW ex­ec­u­tive held a two-hour, closed-door meet­ing with mem­ber­ship at its Dalkeith, St Michael head­quar­ters last night.

The union has been ag­i­tat­ing for a cop­ing mech­a­nism for pub­lic ser­vants since they have not re­ceived a salary in­crease for the past nine years.

Gen­eral trea­surer Asokore Beck­les said Gov­ern­ment had pre­sented two sce­nar­ios for the mech­a­nism, but the union did not agree with ei­ther of them, and so its counter-pro­posal.

He said the NUPW had been ne­go­ti­at­ing with the min­istry for the past two years and while there was “a level of rigid­ity”, the union re­mained open to ne­go­ti­a­tion.

The new pro­posal will be sent to Prime Min­is­ter Fre­un­del Stu­art to­day.

Beck­les told the me­dia work­ers would have heard the Prime Min­is­ter’s prom­ise at the So­cial Part­ner­ship meet­ing on Au­gust 11.

“The Prime Min­is­ter would have said that by the end of Septem­ber he would have an idea as to the per­for­mance of the NSRL [Na­tional So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity Levy], and we’ve heard the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance [Chris Sinck­ler] come out pub­licly and say that it is per­form­ing very well,” he said.

Dis­ap­pointed

He added that work­ers were dis­ap­pointed no firm of­fer had been pre­sented.

Pres­i­dent Akanni Mcdowall made it clear this new of­fer was sep­a­rate from salary ne­go­ti­a­tions.

“This pay­ment is a cop­ing mech­a­nism be­cause the cop­ing sub­sidy was in a dif­fer­ent form. This is some­thing that is be­ing of­fered by Gov­ern­ment in a slightly dif­fer­ent form from what we were ask­ing for . . . . We un­der­stand the con­cept be­hind it, we un­der­stand the rea­son be­cause we pro­posed those rea­sons, and there­fore we are say­ing that we will give Gov­ern­ment a counter-pro­posal so that we can meet the needs of our mem­bers,” he said.

While the meet­ing was in full swing, shout­ing could be heard from the out­side. When asked about the pas­sion that seemed to be present dur­ing pro­ceed­ings, gen­eral sec­re­tary Roslyn Smith said work­ers felt in­sulted be­cause the Min­istry of the Civil Ser­vice of­fered what it called a sce­nario, rather than a firm pro­posal.

While no timeline was given for the one-off pay­ment to be made, the sce­nario pre­sented said it would be non-tax­able and non-pen­sion­able. The scale of pay­ment was be­tween two and five per cent.

When pressed as to whether he thought the ne­go­ti­a­tions would ex­tend past the gen­eral elec­tion due next year, Mcdowall said he hoped not.

“The union has to ne­go­ti­ate, keep­ing in mind that the mem­bers have not re­ceived a salary in­crease for a num­ber of years. Al­though we take into con­sid­er­a­tion the fact that an elec­tion is around the cor­ner, we still have to en­sure that we ne­go­ti­ate the best pos­si­ble deal for our mem­bers, and I think that is where our fo­cus is right now.

“. . . . It is our hope that this can be com­pleted, and by the end of Jan­uary the work­ers can have some­thing in their pockets, if not sooner,” he said. ( RA)

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