The executive council of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) is engaged in intense closed door talks, under the watchful eye of police.
Lawmen were called in this evening after bitter exchanges between opposing sides as council members meet regarding a petition proposed by union member Natalie Murray for current President Akanni McDowall to be appointed Secretary General of the trade union.
Acting General Secretary Wayne Walrond summoned the talks which include former general secretaries and presidents to advise on the way forward.
But this did not go down well with Murray, who criticized the actions of the former leaders while demanding that Walrond call a meeting as requested by the more than 130 members who signed the petition.
“I am fazed this afternoon by the past union general secretaries, the past presidents of this union. I would like to know where were they … when the workers of this country needed them. They did not turn up, but they find it fit to turn up today to have a meeting,” she said.
“I want to say to the unofficial General Secretary of this union – call the meeting, the 138 members will not be ignored; call the meeting.”
McDowall was also at the union’s headquarters earlier today and he told reporters he was prevented from attending the meeting.
“I came up to here to attend and I saw a number of general secretaries and presidents and when I ask the General Secretary what the meeting was about, I was met with a level of hostility from the presidents and general secretaries who said that they didn’t want me to be in the meeting and they didn’t want me to hear what they were discussing,” he said.
“Now, I am still the president the union and this is a sad day for the union. Clearly, I am not about to add to any confusion for the union but I would expect that the level of respect the president is given by the Acting General Secretary and at least by all those presidents and general secretaries that have gone before me, would have expected the same level of respect if they were in the same position.”
Meanwhile, former union executive Derek Alleyne described the development as a “sad day” for the NUPW but he suggested that it could benefit the union in the longer term.
“Out of every crisis comes the opportunity to repair things that have been allowed to fester. I think it is bad day for the union in the sense of what it purports to do, but in terms of providing the general membership with the understanding that this union has reached rock bottom, I think it will send that message,” he said.