Two of this country’s trade union leaders have led a stinging condemnation of Government over the decision to restore the ten per cent taken from the salaries of parliamentarians and other senior Government officers back in 2014.
President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall and President of the Unity Worker’s Union (UWU) Caswell Franklyn took no prisoners as they tore into the Freundel Stuart administration, describing the governing parliamentarians as shameless, “unconscionable”, “money grabbing” politicians who cared little about the average Barbadian.
McDowall also said he remained baffled by the move.
“I don’t see how you could look after yourselves before you look after the people you were meant to serve,” he said, while pointing out that public servants had not received a salary increase for over nine years.
“It is ridiculous that public servants have to bear with the price of good and services in Barbados that would have increased significantly over the years. It is ridiculous that public servants have to pay all of these taxes. It says to me that you care more about yourself than people you are there to serve,” he added.
In tabling the resolution this afternoon, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler was careful to point out that it was not a salary increase, while suggesting that Government was simply honouring its promise to restore the amount, which was initially due to be repaid at the end of 19 months but was yet to be restituted.
However, McDowall said his members were equally anxious for word from Government on a proposed 23 per cent pay increase.
“The last negotiations in relation to salary increases would’ve been in October last year and since then [the NUPW has been] trying to get a meeting with [Government] to continue negotiations, but to no avail,” the NUPW boss said.
“I am left with no choice but to call a meeting of all public servants for this Friday at 2 p.m. at NUPW headquarters to discuss this issue and the way forward. Public servants should come out and say to this union by their presence how bad they need a salary increase.”
Also speaking out strongly against the pay restoration, Franklyn called on Barbadians to hold the Freundel Stuart administration accountable for “their insensitivity to the workers of the country”.
“What has happened to people from National Housing Corporation that have not gotten back a cent after they were sent home? They are talking about getting back their ten per cent but what about those people who
lost 100 per cent? These people are unconscionable and that should be their resignation.
“Barbados should rise up against this nonsense but Barbadians are too docile. These people got no shame whatsoever. They are basically uncaring and unfeeling, money grabbing bunch of people. They should be ashamed,” an upset Franklyn said.
As for Sinckler’s suggestion that the monies were long overdue, Franklyn argued that if Government was such a stickler for timelines, then it would have honoured its commitment to increase the Value Added Tax from 15 per cent to 17.5 per cent for 18 months only.