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BARBADOS | Finance Minister dismisses threat from union

Featured Finance Minister Chris Sinckler Finance Minister Chris Sinckler
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 13, CMC – The Barbados government has described as “ill-advised and unfortunate” a threat from the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) to stage industrial action if the government does not reverse recently announced tax increases.

“I would say that if really is the union’s position, it is as ill-advised as it is unfortunate at this time,” Finance Minister Chris Sinckler said.

He told the online public Barbados TODAY that he does not believe the union’s leadership “is oblivious to the fact that the alternatives to the measures which we introduced, including an increase in the NSRL (National Social Responsibility Levy), will be far more hurtful to public officers than what is proposed”.

Sinckler said that there are persons in Barbados who argue that the government should reduce the size of the public service, saying “it simply means that government should send home thousands of public servants from the service”.

But he said that the Freundel Stuart government, which in 2013, sent home an estimated 3,000 people, was resisting the calls.

He said if the NUPW’s leadership ‘is prepared to make the choice of seeing large amounts of their membership lose their employment and with it the capacity to earn a living, then I would definitely consider that position to be both ill-advised and undesirable”.

The NUPW said it is prepared to stage industrial action if Sinckler fails to repeal the tax measures or institute a “coping subsidy” for public servants until salary negotiations have been concluded.

NUPW president Akanni McDowall said that the industrial action could come in the form of a go slow, sickout, work to rule or all forms and that the government has until July 1 to meet the union’s demands.

“Failing a response to the unions’ concerns, permission has been given for the union to do whatever is necessary to protect the interests of its members and the wider citizenry of Barbados,” McDowall said.

The NUPW said that the tax measures are expected to drastically increase the cost of living by at least 15 per cent.

  • Countries: Barbados

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