The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) says it has been formally notified by Government of the permanent appointment of 89 officers at the National Housing Corporation (NHC).
The news comes amid ongoing concern about the level of spending at the statutory corporation.
Just recently, three Government ministers – Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, Minister of Housing Denis Kellman, and former Minister of Housing Michael Lashley – were summoned to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to answers questions on spending for public housing, based on matters raised in the report by Auditor General Leigh Trotman.
At issue is the employment of 47 people over and above the approved staff complement for the statutory agency; the auditing of accounts and the laying of those accounts before Parliament and the awarding of contracts for the Exmouth, Coverley, Grotto, Bushy Park and Country Park Towers housing projects.
However, the three ministers have blatantly refused to appear before the Mia Mottley-led PAC, with their lawyers contending that “the summons to our clients by its very nature was illegal, since it was purporting to use the stated jurisdiction of examining to effectively hold an enquiry”.
In the meantime, Government has proceeded to make more appointments at the NHC. In a brief letter to the NUPW dated December 8, 2016, NHC General Manager Lanette Napoleon-Young said “these  persons include those who were appointed for the first time, as well those appointed on promotion”.
While welcoming the development, NUPW President Akanni McDowall has sought to warn Government that there is much more work to done regarding the other terms and conditions for workers there.
However, he said the appointments were an important “first step in the right direction” at the NHC, which was hit by protest action earlier this year following the appointment of a human resource manager.
The NUPW head also congratulated the management of NHC for its decision to engage in negotiations with the union and for seeing the process through to the end for the benefit of all concerned.
He told Barbados TODAY the decision ensures a climate of good industrial relations and sets the stage for mature ongoing negotiations between NHC and NUPW, adding that he was hopeful that other public servants would benefit from a similar fate in the future.
Just over a week ago, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced in Parliament that 555 temporary officers who have been acting in posts were about to be made permanent. However, the union said that did not take into account the 89 NHC appointments.