Some Government workers are expected to take industrial action as early as Wednesday in support of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), which is pushing for the return of its president to an acting senior position.
However, the union has refused to say what form the action will take, or how business at Government offices will be affected.
The NUPW said it would start phased protests beginning with environmental health officers who have been summoned to a meeting Wednesday morning at 10 o’clock at union headquarters, as it raises the pressure on the Personnel Administration Division [PAD] for a meeting to dicuss it’s concerns.
The union’s president Akanni McDowall has been returned to his substantive post as a junior officer in the Ministry of Health.
While General Secretary Roslyn Smith declined to say what protest action the workers would take, she told Barbados TODAY it would be instituted in “bits and pieces” and the effects would begin to be felt from tomorrow.
“We called a meeting for all environmental health officers for tomorrow at 10 o’clock. It will be an ongoing phase with bits and pieces here, there and everywhere,” Smith said.
Asked if the protest would start with the environmental health officers, she replied: “We called a meeting to sensitize them about some issues they have . . . . There are some issues [of their own] and [the] Akanni issue as well.”
Pressed to specify the exact nature of the action, the trade union leader insisted whatever happened, the relevant departments would find out Wednesday.
“Tomorrow they would recognize that something is happening differently,” she said.
It was just Monday that Smith had told Barbados TODAY that the union’s National Council had unanimously agreed to take whatever action was necessary to force the Chief Personnel Officer to reinstate McDowall to the senior acting position.
She revealed then that the NUPW had decided to pursue industrial action because it had not received a reply from the PAD to its request made some two weeks ago for an urgent meeting to settle the contentious issue.
Smith had also warned that if the union had not heard from the PAD by early Tuesday morning, the NUPW would press ahead with industrial action.
Asked Tuesday evening whether the union had heard from Government, Smith admitted she had received a call from the Chief Personnel Officer, who failed to organize a meeting this week.
“I got a call from her this morning and I expressed an interest in meeting this week. But she said she couldn’t meet this week, she would have to meet next week. I told her I could not agree to that because this is a serious matter and that we should have met ever since. So I told her we would have to go ahead with our action,” the NUPW boss told Barbados TODAY.
The union’s first reaction to the reversion was to accuse Government of victimizing its president who had been leading the charge on a number of industrial relations issues against the Freundel Stuart administration.
The NUPW became further enraged after it learned that the position had been filled by someone it said who was junior to McDowall and several other public servants.