The controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) will be among important matters discussed at this Friday’s highly anticipated meeting of the Social Partnership, President of the National Union of Public Workers’ (NUPW) Akanni McDowall has revealed.
This afternoon union leaders and private sector executives met with Prime Minister Freundel Stuart at his Illaro Court residence to finalize the agenda for the August 11 meeting, which is to be nationally televised.
Today’s meeting, which got underway at 2:30 p.m. and lasted approximately an hour and a half was also attended by representatives of the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), the Barbados Private Sector Association (BPSA) and The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).
However, while not releasing the final draft agenda, Mc Dowall told Barbados TODAY that the NSRL, which was triggered a July 24 march by over 20, 000 people, will be on the table for discussion.
“The issues of concern to the unions will be discussed at the meeting on Friday. All of the issues that would have concerned us and that persons would have marched for would be discussed at the meeting.
“We wouldn’t want to give you the contents of the agenda until the partners actually receive something in writing, but we were able to confirm what the agenda would be and therefore we are really looking forward to those issues of concern to us,” McDowall said.
He also said the unions were not at all put off by the decision by Government to televise the meeting.
The workers’ representatives have ben maintaining that the NSRL, which increased from two per cent to ten per cent on July 1, will result in greater hardship for their members and have been pressing collectively for a 50 per cent reduction in the tax or for workers to be given some form of coping subsidy.
Although Government has not been budging so far on those demands, McDowall said he was hopeful that Friday’s meeting reap some success.
“Today we were all cordial and we understood what needed to be discussed and all of the partners came with that mindset, so we were able to settle quickly on what should be addressed in the agenda.
“It is my hope that the union’s mission will be achieved. I don’t believe that we should go into any meeting without expecting some kind of significant result. So we expect that we will indeed get the necessary result, so hopefully the meeting goes according to plan and we can get things back on track,” McDowall stressed.