The National Union of Public Workers’ (NUPW) wants Government to go back to the drawing board with its recently legislated Public Service Appointment Act.
Charging that too many of its members were being disadvantaged due to the strict requirements of the Act, NUPW’s Acting General Secretary Delcia Burke wants the legislation amended so a larger number of public servants could benefit.
Under the new provisions in the legislation, which was passed just over two weeks ago, persons who were not appointed to the public service but who had been employed in a temporary position or an established position for three years or more immediately before October 1, 2020, were deemed to be appointed.
Additionally, persons who had been acting in a post for three years or more before October 1, 2020, were also appointed.
But in an interview with Barbados TODAY, Burke, who heads the island’s largest public sector union, proposed that Government amend the legislation so public servants who had acted in positions for three years or more at any point in time would be eligible to be appointed.
She said while she was happy to see some persons being appointed, there were still too many deserving of appointments being left out in the cold.
“I don’t know how many people were appointed but I know a number of our members have not been appointed after acting in positions for 12, 13, 14 years, only due to the fact that they were promoted to act in a higher position but were not in the position for three years.
“The NUPW feels that they should amend the Act to say that anybody who has been acting in the public service for three years, regardless of if you served two years in one position and one year in another, or 13 in one position and then two in another,” Burke contended.
“It has placed a number of our members and other public servants at a serious disadvantage. You came up with something that gives people hope, saying that so many people are going to be appointed, only to understand that a number of persons don’t qualify based on what the Act says.”
In piloting the legislation, Attorney General Dale Marshall disclosed that any public servant who wished to make an appeal could do so to the Governor General.
However, Burke also questioned that decision, saying it did not give workers a fair chance.
“They have given persons the option to appeal to the Governor General if they feel they have been prejudiced by the Act. But the Act is very specific as to who can be appointed so I want to know how the Governor General is going to do something other than what the Act says when the Act is there written in law. I don’t understand how that is going to happen,” she pointed out.
“What I also don’t understand is that anybody who appeals can lose an appeal. What happens if persons lose those appeals? What are they going to do because there is nowhere else to turn. You have a disciplinary and a grievance procedure in the Public Service Act that talks about dealing with issues and grievances. Why can’t you follow that grievance procedure? Why do you have to go and appeal to the Governor General,” Burke further questioned.