President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall today learnt the hard way what it means to fall victim to Government.
McDowall, who has been carrying his union’s fight to the Freundel Stuart administration for well over a year since his ascension to the presidency back in May 2015, was unceremoniously removed from the senior position of Acting Health Planning Officer 1 and sent back to his substantive post of Environmental Health Assistant 1.
In an immediate reaction, the NUPW said the “sudden reversion of its president” was nothing short of victimization, while pointing out that he had recently been vocal in his opposition to what the union sees as Government’s efforts to privatize the state-run Sanitation Service Authority.
“He has also been forthright in his representation of customs officers, GAIA Inc. and BIDC employees among others,” the statement added.
The NUPW is therefore demanding an urgent meeting with the Chief Personnel Officer to discuss the situation.
In a media release, the union noted that McDowall had previously acted in the post of Health Promotion Officer for two straight years and had received favourable performance reports.
It also pointed out that when its president was appointed to act in June, he was placed in a vacant position.
“The union understands that other positions in the same category will become vacant by year-end when a senior officer proceeds on retirement,” the NUPW added.
The union also argued that McDowall, who has a Masters in Public Health, possesses the qualifications to fill the temporary post. However, it expressed concern that “this reversion places him at the entry level in his department”, adding that senior personnel in the Ministry of Health were neither notified nor supported the decision to demote him.