Maloney: NUPW did its job


President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Walter Maloney, has lashed back at critics who said the union had done nothing to stop the layoffs and that its proposals were ineffective.
Speaking at the opening of the NUPW’s 70th annual conference at its Dalkeith, St Michael headquarters Thursday night, Maloney said the union had been able to reduce the number of public sector layoffs from 6 000 to 3 000, but it had been pilloried and villified in the print and electronic media “morning, noon and night” by the political elite, members of the private sector, armchair critics and “quasi-trade unionists”.
“It is not what we did not do, but most of it was because we did not follow the script as prepared by them,” he said, pointing to the NUPW’s ten-point set of proposals to raise revenue and reduce expenditure.
“What did the naysayers say? Their [proposals] were not far-reaching enough. Albeit, this organisation is the only one that placed on the table a set of alternatives, notwithstanding Minister Estwick’s alternative,” said Maloney.
He added that no one felt it necessary to support the NUPW’s proposals or acknowledge that they “were able to reduce the number of layoffs from 6 000 to 3 000”.
“Significant, yes, but still a daunting amount, for we believe in this organisation that one job loss is a job too many,” he added.
Pointing to the rise of anti-union propaganda and the neo-liberal agenda across the globe, Maloney said the NUPW would stand fast in the face of the onslaught and remain resolute in its convictions.
He also said it was imperative that, as he and general secretary Dennis Clarke prepared to exit the stage, the next crop of leaders must be even better equipped to handle the vagaries of the movement, and not only oppose but fashion alternatives that would redound to the sustainability of Barbados.
Regarding the Social Partnership, his answer to critics who believed it had outlived its usefulness was that this was the best model, as agreed to by the International Labour Organisation and admired around the world.
“The country needs a discussion on this issue that will lead to honest and frank exchanges about the current state of affairs, and bring all of us – Government, labour and the private sector – to challenge one another on old and new ways of bringing about change,” he told the audience that included Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and officials of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations. (RJ)


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