Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by this author are their own and do not represent the official position of the Barbados Today Inc.
by a concerned NUPW member
There appears to be a dead rat within an organisation which I hold dear, the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) and it smells to the high heavens.
Recent reports in the media concerning a resolution calling for the installation of the union’s president as general secretary/secretary general for four years in a fulltime capacity caused attention to be drawn to those who may seek power to the detriment of others.
Allegations of unprofessional behaviour by the present general secretary, lack of knowledge of the union’s Constitution (the union’s Rules and Standing orders) and incompetence among other charges appear not to be supported by the union’s executive nor national council.
Someone has fallen for and eaten of the proverbial bait of power, seemingly in an effort to serve in any capacity required. It reminds me of the story of the dog crossing the river with a bone in its mouth which upon seeing the magnified image of the bone in the water opened its mouth and grabbed at the larger reflection.
Within recent years, there has been a seeming effort to “de-whisker” the general secretaries of the union. It is noticeable that contrary to what was and remains good union practice, that is, the general secretary of the union serves as the chief spokesperson of the union, the opposte appears to be the case.
From the inception, some argue that the president has promoted himself as chief whip, cook and bottle washer of the union. In my opinion, such actions could then be interpreted as deliberately side-stepping and downplaying the role of the general secretary and union Secretariat. Does a general secretary have to seek permission to speak on industrial relations matters relating to the union?
Some questions to consider – should the president, in the effort to serve in any capacity required, become general secretary or secretary general, would the role of chief spokesperson now stay with the position of the president of the NUPW? Will the president resign his post as a public servant? Will the president still hold the elected position of president while being secretary general, or will he resign? With elections scheduled for July 15, will there be elections for a new executive committee which includes the position of president? The questions are many!
The NUPW has never been and will never be about a person or post and that person’s ambitions. It is about the collective aspirations of those of us who together make up the union.
It is a union which has, over the years, provided significant representation for its members, equity for women in the public service, transition of casual workers to public officers, an enviable Medicare programme and given birth to the now Public Workers Credit Union, among its many other achievements.
There is an old proverb, “the higher the monkey climbs, the more he shows of his tail”. How much more tree climbing will there be? Alas, I am reminded that nothing can be expected from an environment headed by self-interest.
What does one do when there is a dead rat in the house and it smells? Only the members of the NUPW can decide.