In recent weeks the underbelly of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) has sadly been exposed on BU, the result of a vigorous election campaign. Whether it was the revelation that the membership of approximately 10,000 has reached a level of lethargy where a quorum of 50 to start the clock at union meetings is a struggle. An outstanding cellphone bill of $6,000+ by newly re-elected President Walter Maloney (why does this last sentence seem odd?). The strange procurement policy of the NUPW used to purchase an Audi for General Secretary Dennis Clarke. A defunct National Council which appears to have devolved all powers vested in it by the Rules and Standing Orders to General Secretary Clarke and President Walter Malaoney. Last but not least among the issues is the ‘talk’ that a quid pro quo deal was hatched between government and the NUPW to trade public sector pay hikes in return for a building at Newton to house the highly touted buying club.
In can be argued the NUPW is one of the most influential unions in Barbados. It seems to control the poll in the public service and because a significant percentage of government expenditure is wages, we the public have a vested interest in how the NUPW manages its business.
One thing which has concerned BU coming out of the back and forth in recent weeks is the extent NUPW membership is disengaged. The current state within the membership means a small band of people have been able to co-opt the running of the affairs of the NUPW to feed their own narrow interest.