Improving industrial relations with Government agencies and providing more timely information are on a wishlist issued by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) to Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan, it has emerged.
Trade unionists also called for greater attention to the mantenance of Government buildings and flexibility in work arrangements. The conduct of some state-owned enterprises was also raised during a meeting with the Minister.
NUPW General Secretary Roslyn Smith said quarterly meetings were a customary part of the arrangement with the Ministry of Civil Service, Personnel Administration Division and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, but were now not occurring.
She urged Government to make information more forthcoming on the retrenchment process, to recognize agreements made with unions, and for larger ministries to come back to the bargaining table.
President of the NUPW, Akanni McDowall, while congratulating the Minister of Labour on his appointment, sought to assure him of the NUPW’s willingness to do “all in its power to work collaboratively”.
Declaring that the seeming lack of communication with Government in the past had to be corrected, he noted “because there was that barrier to communication, it meant that a number of grievances that we had at the time were not resolved in a timely manner or not at all”.
McDowall emphasized the need for the NUPW to be involved intimately in the retrenchment process, and called for more information and details on related plans and targets. He said this would allow his union enough time to adequately inform members and alert them to the issues.
Labour Minister Jordan, in his response, explained that any “rush” perceived was as a result of time being a factor for Government, as it was working on addressing both revenue and debt.
Stating that issues became problematic because of the failure of people to sit down and talk, he said: “That is the major issue and that is one of the things I will be pushing more as it relates to any matter. People have to learn to sit down and talk. Even when you are at senior level, it is not beneath you. You don’t lose anything by sitting down and talking to people.”
While committing himself to work and dialogue with the unions, he told the NUPW representatives he thought the two parties had a “good” meeting and there are a number of issues to follow up on.