Members of the island’s largest public sector union will no longer have to consider two resolutions introduced at the union’s annual general conference.
The two contentious resolutions proposed at the National Union of Public Workers’ (NUPW) annual general conference have been withdrawn.
With elections slated for tomorrow to fill the union’s top positions, some members had questioned the move to have the union responsible for paying the gratuity and pension of an elected president if seconded which was the gist of one resolution.
One senior officer of the NUPW who spoke to Barbados TODAY on condition of anonymity due to his sensitive position in the union, referred to the resolution which stated: “Be it resolved that the president elected to serve his tenure be seconded to the Union to undertake responsibility for policy and policy decisions.”
“That resolution is ridiculous. In essence, what this could mean is that the president could be seconded from his position in Government to the NUPW where the union would be saddled with paying full gratuity and pension,” the union member said.
He added: “It is interesting that the idea of a secondment to the union in the resolution only covered the position of president. The general secretary of the union, be it the NUPW, the BWU, or most unions, is usually the person in the forefront fighting the union’s battles. Sometimes the presidents of unions can be totally anonymous, though that is not the case with ours.”
Barbados TODAY understands that resolution was withdrawn on Saturday after members questioned the motive behind it. Also withdrawn was another resolution which sought to change the name of the union. That resolution read: Be it resolved that the name of the union as it stands as the National Union of Public Workers be amended and now recognized as the National Union of Workers.
The senior union source told Barbados TODAY that the NUPW’s membership had been dwindling over the past few years with disenchantment and the notion of poor representation being at the core of the exodus.
“Around 2013-2014, our membership was about 8 000. Today it is somewhere in the vicinity of 4 000. And this figure is not only reflective of retrenchments. It is apathy towards the NUPW. We have become too politicized. I know there is a historical link between unions and political parties but I hear people on the ground basically accusing the NUPW of being used by politicians. There is the belief that this union was used to help undermine the last Government especially as it related to increased salaries,” he said.
The list of resolutions, a copy of which Barbados TODAY obtained, explained that the rationale behind removing “public” from the union’s name was to facilitate the recruitment of membership from the private sector.
The resolution read: “Be it resolved that the National Union of Public Workers Rules and Standing Orders reflect that membership of the Union be opened to all members in Barbados. Whereas the proposal is being made to include all private and public workers in Barbados. And whereas such a change would mean the dynamics of the membership would not be adequately described with the use of the word “public” only.”
The union source told Barbados TODAY that a priority of the NUPW’s future endeavours ought to be the restoration of the confidence and trust that have been eroded in the past few years. He said the attempt to recruit membership from the private sector seemed an act of desperation and an admission of failure by the present union leadership.
“I also see it as warning to Toni Moore and her people. That resolution would be sending a message to the Barbados Workers’ Union that we would soon be looking to recruit its membership,” he said.
Persistent efforts to reach NUPW President Akanni McDowall over the past few days have been unsuccessful.