Trade union boss Walter Maloney is considering legal action against Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Dale Marshall, over what he deemed an “assault” on his integrity.
And the National Union of Public Workers President also made it clear his organisation would not be supporting the ruling Democratic Labour Party or Marshall’s Barbados Labour Party in the upcoming general election. Neither will they be telling civil servants for whom they should vote.
At a Press conference at the union’s Dalkeith, St. Michael headquarters this morning, Maloney refuted statements the BLP’s second in command made yesterday when he said the trade unionist had declared war on the Opposition and was seeking to “scare” public sector workers into voting against the BLP because of that party’s support for privatisation.
The NUPW head said what Marshall quoted him as saying at a productivity seminar held Wednesday at the union’s headquarters was “erroneous” and that he would be contacting his lawyers for advice on the matter.
“As a private citizen in this country … I have my integrity to uphold and clearly I will be asking my legal representatives to … look at this because I have some problems with this, even from last night when this thing came on … the radio my phone has not stopped ringing,” he said
“I have been getting phone calls from persons not only in Barbados but persons overseas as well as to what this is all about and when persons bring my integrity into question I think I have a right as a citizen of this country to try to protect it and I indeed will be doing that.”
Yesterday at a Press conference at the Opposition’s office in the House of Assembly, Marshall said: “Mr. Maloney did attend (the seminar) and in his speech he said only that he had come to the event to state that the NUPW will only be supporting political parties based on their position on the issue of privatisation.”
But Maloney said the BLP spokesman had got it wrong, and that he and the other 40 people present knew what he had actually said in response to the concerns of “nervous” union members.
“At that seminar on Wednesday what I said, … and this is the position of the NUPW for the last maybe 30 years when it comes to dealing with privatisation, was that the National Union of Public Workers will not support any form of privatisation in the public service that will cause dislocation of workers,” the NUPW official stated.
“That was my statement, that is all I said at that seminar, nothing more, nothing less and that is the position as far as I know and I don’t think our policy has changed. That is the policy of the National Union of Public Workers. I would also tend to think that is the policy of all unions in this country, indeed all unions across the globe.”
Maloney said he also wanted the thousands of civil servants represented by the union to know that it was not interested in who they voted for, but that it was adamant that it would not be supporting any form of privatisation in Barbados that caused public sector workers to lose their jobs.
“I just want to be clear … to our members especially that NUPW has never supported openly, covertly or overtly, any political party in this country. We have never done it before and we certainly will not be doing it now. And so I find that statement to be reprehensible and I take really, really umbrage at what was said,” he said.
Maloney also wondered why he and the NUPW were criticised by Marshall when head of the Barbados Workers Union, Senator Sir Roy Trotman, recently voiced a similar view.
“A union is there to represent the interest of its workers and if we feel that privatisation is not in the interest of the workers then we have the right to say so… All we were doing was trying to represent the interest of our workers and what we are seeing is an assault on the workers on their representatives by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition,” he stated. (SC)