Exactly one year after taking up the post of president of the island’s largest public sector trade union, Akanni McDowall’s leadership of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is about to come under serious challenge.
Barbados TODAY understands that a no confidence motion is due to be brought against the NUPW leader.
The document, with the required 50 signatures, could be in the hands of General Secretary Roslyn Smith as early as this week, demanding that a meeting of the general membership be summoned within the time stipulated by the rules of the organization to decide McDowall’s fate.
McDowall is being accused of disrespecting staff, including the General Secretary and older NUPW heads, as well as acting in a dictatorial manner.
“Some people in the union are even referring to him as ‘Ikanni’ because everything is I, I, I,” one longstanding member told Barbados TODAY.
However, sources say the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was a recent attempt by McDowall to try to overturn a decison of the National Council – the NUPW’s highest decision-making body.
That decision had to do with the union’s medicare group programme with the Insurance Corporation of Barbados (ICBL), which expires at the end of this month and will not be renewed.
Last Thursday, the Council met and agreed that Sagicor would provide cover from June 1, with Capita Insurance acting as the broker for the policy, which covers 1,878 members.
However, the president reportedly sought to advise Sagicor by letter that it could not deal with Capita Insurance.
By letter dated May 6, Sagicor responded by asking for clarification to McDowall’s letter.
This led to the head of the umbrella Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations (CTUSAB) Cedric Murrell expressing concern over McDowall’s actions.
At a meeting with Sagicor yesterday, the NUPW president was forced to concede he was wrong for trying to reverse the National Council’s decision.
When contacted tonight, McDowall told Barbados TODAY he was aware of efforts to have him removed from the helm of the trade union.
However, he said he was neither concerned nor intimidated.
He accused some members of the union of trying to “sully his name and reputation” at a time when his main concern was the rights of the workers which the union represents.
“There is some perceived notion that I am affiliated to some political party. I want to make it abundantly clear, that I am not associated with to any political party and my sole interest is that of the workers. I am only here to make sure I represent the workers to the best of my ability,” he told Barbados TODAY.