The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is threatening industrial action if Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler fails to repeal the tax measures put forward in the Financial Statements and Budgetary Proposals.
The union is demanding that Sinckler recalls the tax measures or institute a “coping subsidy” for public servants until salary negotiations have been concluded.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY, NUPW President Akanni McDowall said that the industrial action could come in the form of a go slow, sickout, work to rule or all forms.
McDowall said Sinckler has until July 1 to meet the union’s demands.
“Failing a response to the unions’ concerns, permission has been given for the union to do whatever is necessary to protect the interests of its members and the wider citizenry of Barbados,” McDowall said.
The NUPW President said that the tax measures are expected to drastically increase the cost of living by at least 15 per cent, adding this would be too much to bear.
“The workers of Barbados are not in a position to bear the consequences of the increases in taxes and levies at this time,” he said.
“Public servants have not received a salary increase in almost a decade, and although salary negotiations have commenced, there is no clear agreement or dates set for the conclusion of negotiations.”
McDowall stressed that Government’s attempt to keep the struggling economy afloat by injecting $500 million in taxes would diminish the spending capacity of already financially strained households.
“The union further recognizes that the hike in the social responsibility levy from two per cent to ten per cent will result in across the board increases in the price of food, other necessity items and further diminish the spending capacity of its members and the wider public . . . These measures cut at the core of the functioning of every household in Barbados, some of which are already under extreme pressure,” McDowall added.