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NUPW members: Fire the president

Daily Nation, Monday 10 July 2000

SOME MEMBERS of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) want president Millicent Small sacked.

Reliable sources yesterday disclosed that a resolution was being drafted to be heard at a special general meeting, a direct response to Small's dismissal of a similar motion last week which sought to have three union employees reinstated.

The attempt last Wednesday night to have the workers re-employed failed, said sources, because their termination was not an act of discipline.

"No charges had been brought against the workers, and no one in the union's management had accused them of any breach of the rules,"a source said after Small ruled a resolution out of order and terminated a special general meeting within minutes of it being called to order.

Small, according to records of the meeting, told those present:"Section B15 ... relates to disciplinary policy and procedures governing the union's staff. The manual does not speak to terminations."

The meeting had been called to reverse the firing of Beverley Alleyne, Joan Alleyne and the resignation of Judy Jemmott.

According to an official, the decision to dismiss the workers was the result of a genuine restructuring exercise of the union and not out of any ill feeling towards them.

"The union is genuinely restructuring in order to deal with the drastically changing environment within which it has to operate,"he said.

"Increasingly we are being called on to play the role of a social partner. We are on the National Insurance Board, the National Productivity Board, the Trade Union Congress, the health sciences committee, the hospital committee and others, and there is a limited number of people doing a lot of this.

"The union is bottom heavy, with 23 people, and we have to hire at the top. That's really the basis of the decision and the people involved know this."

He said the union was taking steps to hire an assistant general secretary, a senior administrative officer and a personal assistant for the general secretary. Additionally, it is rewriting its rules, designing new job appraisals, drafting new job descriptions and taking steps to alter titles if necessary.

"You are looking at the creation of a new union,"the official added.