There appears to be division among the ranks of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) over its current protests over the reversion of its president to a junior position in the public service.
One veteran NUPW member told Barbados TODAY despite claims by the leadership to the contrary, the go-slow by customs and immigration officials has been a failure.
“We have customs and immigration officers sitting on the NUPW executive and they can tell you there is no go-slow. If that were the case all officers and executives would have been aware and there should be strategic plan put in place. There is none,” said the member, who asked that he not be identified.
According to the source, the images appearing in the media that appear to show lengthy lines did not give the full picture.
The queues, the source said, resulted from a rise in the number of arrivals and cruise passengers who were catching connecting flights.
“Our members are tired of being placed in the limelight like this when to them they are not involved in any industrial action or go-slow. We have now placed them back in the spotlight to be hated by the general public and that is reckless and I would never support that. At the end of the day, do not compromise our membership based on a perceived notion because there is no go-slow.”
The senior trade unionist charged that the border control officers wanted no part of the go-slow and had expressed concern to him that they were being vilified for industrial action they did not support.
He insisted that the union was unable to attract much support for its current cause because it had been practising double standards.
The source explained that while the NUPW was fighting to have Akanni McDowall returned to an acting senior position, it had ignored the plight of ordinary members who had “legitimate” grievances.
One such example, the source said, had to do with a case of supersession where a junior officer who had gone on study leave for four years, returned and was appointed to a senior post above a qualified candidate who had been interviewed for the post.
When the union was asked to take up the matter, it advised the aggrieved member to write to the Personnel Administration Division, the source said, showing Barbados TODAY a letter from the union dated November 1 in support of his point.
“Why would a member come in to have you deal with a matter like this and the NUPW would then tell them to write directly to the employer? That makes no sense. So you have legitimate cases like this and I am not talking about acting positions, I am talking about vacant positions where persons had a legitimate claim to be appointed in that position and the NUPW refused to deal with it.
“You would have recognized that members were not coming out to support the action because for them it is not legitimate,” he stressed.
Barbados TODAY was also able to independently confirm that immigration officers were at the entrance of the departure section of the Grantley Adams International Airport, collecting immigration forms from the air-to-sea cruise passengers in an effort to speed the process along.
Senior business and tourism officials have questioned the timing of the go-slow, complaining it would hurt the important sectors.