Barbados’ crucial gateway to the world is likely to be hit by industrial action later this week.
President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Akanni McDowall would only say this afternoon that a shutdown of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) was a protest option against the non-payment of wages to workers dating back to 2010/2011. However, sources familiar with the dispute told Barbados TODAY that Friday was the agreed date for action.
McDowall said when the NUPW met with management of GAIA some time ago, it was agreed that the outstanding monies would have been paid.
“We were just awaiting correspondence from the management. Unfortunately we received that correspondence and the correspondence did not say what we wanted. So therefore we are asking all of the airport workers to meet with us tomorrow at 2 p.m. for a general meeting to discuss the issue,” he said.
Asked what the next step was likely to be after that meeting, the union leader replied: “I have said I will do whatever is needed to make sure that those workers get whatever they deserve; and if it means taking the airport management to the level where they are uncomfortable, then I will do that.
“If that includes protest action, shutting down the airport, whatever; but the workers are owed money and they must have it.”
He emphasized that all categories of airport staff were involved in this matter. These, he said, included maintenance, security, engineering and custodians. The union said there are about 400 airport employees and the NUPW represents about half of them.