The President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall has raised a political red flag, amid an internal challenge to his leadership by Deputy General-Treasurer Roy Greenidge.
Earlier this week, Greenidge formally threw his hat into the ring for the post of president, ahead of next month’s NUPW vote. It was minutes before the 4 p.m. deadline on Wednesday that the senior immigration officer, accompanied by five other members of “Team Solidarity”, handed in his application to NUPW headquarters Dalkeith, St Michael.
Telling reporters that his aim was to bring back respect to the union, Greenidge ensured that his name was on the April 5 ballot. He was accompanied by other members of his team, including Kimberley Agard, who had earlier brought a no confidence motion against McDowall.
In light of those developments, the NUPW president has questioned Greenidge’s motives for mounting a challenge to his leadership at this time.
In fact, he warned that it could well be “another attempt to prevent union from holding the Government’s feet to the fire”, without going into details about his concern.
At the same time, the union boss said he was not about to dismiss his opponent, but he insisted that his record spoke for itself.
“My team and I will continue to represent workers to best of our ability.
“As told to me by the workers of this country, this is the first time in years that they felt as though someone was fighting for their cause,” McDowall said in defence of his stewardship.
“One thing is for sure, my team will continue to agitate to ensure that public servants receive salary increases and that they are appointed,” the NUPW president added.
With Government and the union still at odds over the proposed in merger of the Customs & Excise Department into the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) as well as issues relating to the operations of the Sanitation Service Authority, McDowall is confident that he still enjoys the support of the NUPW’s membership.
“Our defence of public servants has been relentless in the last two years. We’ve had a number of achievements,” he told Barbados TODAY, while pointing to approved salary increases for workers at the Grantley Adams International Airport, appointments at the National Housing Corporation and the National Conservation Commission.
He also said the union, under his watch, must be credited for its part in Government’s decision to appoint “all public servants acting for three or
“I am committed to repositioning, refocusing and rebuilding the NUPW,” McDowall stressed.
His remarks come amid persistent demands by the NUPW for a 23 per cent salary increase for public workers, which Government minister Donville Inniss this week described as “grossly unreasonable”.
However, the NUPW is sticking to its guns and is now preparing to up the ante in the coming days unless Government returns to the negotiating table.
The two sides last met in October last year, during which no progress was made.
Furthermore, no provisions have been made in the 2017/2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for any pay hike, whilst, McDowall, who was himself unceremoniously removed from his acting senior post in Government last October, awaits his day in court.