Pan Africanist David Denny has come out strongly in support of the 23 per cent pay demand being made by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW).
Speaking in the wake of concerns raised by key Government officials, including outspoken Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Donville Inniss, who had earlier suggested that the union’s demand was downright unreasonable, Denny, who is currently vying for the post of 3rd Vice President in the NUPW, sought to make it clear that the position was not that of the union’s executive alone, but its general membership.
“This is not a decision made by any one person within the union, this is a decision made by the general membership of the NUPW. The general membership took a position where they supported the proposal for a 23 per cent increase. The workers also took a position of giving their support to the union if any form of industrial action is taken on the issue,” Denny told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
However, the Government employee, who is currently attached to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth as a youth projects coordinator, said he was open to a possible compromise on the union’s across-the board pay hike.
In fact, Denny suggested that with the economy as it is, workers at the bottom of the ladder should be afforded the highest wage increase at this stage.
“We can honestly see that the workers at the bottom, as well as the workers in the middle grades, are actually suffering. These two groups deserve that salary increase. Maybe what the union can look at is a proposal of 23 per cent increase for the workers who are at the bottom of the salary scale. Another proposal could be to defend the rights of the middle grades with a salary increase of 15 per cent,” Denny explained, adding that a ten per cent salary increase could be offered to those at the top of Government’s pay scale.
He also highlighted the issue of appointments in the public service, while recalling that in 2015 he had tabled a resolution, which was subsequently passed by the union, for the appointment of all public officers working within the civil service for more than three years.
“This year I again presented the resolution asking that the [just-ended NUPW] conference sets up a committee to follow this process and to make demands for the appointment of public officers after three years of service.
“At the same time, the union, as a general body, has already [agreed] to support the position in either taking industrial action or legal action,” he revealed.
Denny further pointed out that there were many workers in the public service with more than ten years experience who were yet to be appointed.
“My campaign [for a place on the NUPW’s executive] is also demanding that the union takes a stand and forces the Government of Barbados to appoint all those workers who have been in the service for more than eight years and who may not have the qualifications, but have the experience and have been functioning without any problems, without any bad reports and who have been producing,” he said.
“I think that that is like attending the university and gaining a degree, because that person has more than eight years experience in terms of working at that specific job. That person is then capable of the delivery of service in the public service,” he added.
Ahead of the April 5 internal ballot, in which NUPW President Akanni McDowall faces a challenge from the Deputy General-Treasurer Roy Greenidge for the leadership of the country’s largest public sector union, Denny, who is running as an independent, said he has been meeting with several workers and he was pleased with their response to his campaign.