The National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) General Council has voted to begin industrial action to force the Barbados government to negotiate salary increases for its members.
Finance Minister, Chris Sinckler, speaking during the current debate on the 2017-18 Estimates of Expenditure and Revenue said that the Freundel Stuart government had not taken a position on whether or not civil servants would get a salary rise this financial year.
The Barbados Workers Union (BWU) has already indicated that it is seeking a 15 per cent increase for its members and Sinckler dismissed suggestions that the NUPW was prepared to engage in industrial action in support for its 23 per cent wage hike.
“All of the talk we are hearing about salary increase for public servants and the union want to strike because nobody ain’t talking to them and all that . . .‘let’s have a strike approach to industrial relations’ as far that particular union is concerned . . . . We haven’t come to a conclusion on salary increases in Barbados for public servants,” Sinckler said, acknowledging that public servants would benefit from increments this fiscal year.
But NUPW President Akanni McDowall said that the patience of his members had run out and “government’s disrespect for the workers and the union would no longer be tolerated”.
“What we were asking today is for government to meet with us to continue negotiations. We have been trying to meet with Government since October last year and government has quite frankly refused to meet, despite the number of correspondence we would have sent to the Ministry.
“Council met today and Council decided to take industrial action in order to get government back to the table,” McDowall said, but was tight-lipped on the form of industrial action to be taken.
“As you know we don’t go into details, but Council has said that we have to do it as soon as possible in order to bring them back to the table,” he maintained.