Bermuda Chamber Commerce in association with the Bermuda Employers Council [BEC] today released the results of their recent Mindmaps poll on the suggested move of the National Labour Day Holiday.
Chamber President Ronnie Viera and BEC President Keith Jensen explained; “Earlier this year in response to a request from the Bermuda Trade Union Congress to move the Labour Day holiday to May 1st, the Minister of Economy, Trade & Industry, the Hon. Patrice Minors consulted with various stakeholders, including the local and international business community. Businesses responded unanimously, clearly stating that such a move would not be in the best interest of the country.”
Mr. Jensen explains further; “In direct response to the Premier’s reported comments the BEC and The Chamber agreed that it was imperative that this matter be addressed at the national level. To this end we committed to jointly financing a national Mindmaps survey. The results clearly speak for themselves.”
- 76% of residents (excluding non-Bermudians) believe that Labour Day should be celebrated on the first Monday in September
- Females (81%) have a stronger opinion than males (71%) to keep Labour Day in September
- Blacks (81%) have a stronger opinion than whites (72%) to keep Labour Day in September
- Persons aged 35- 44 (83%) and 45-54 (82%) have stronger opinions than other age groups which vary between 65% and 75% to keep Labour Day in September
- Among those registered to vote, 78% believe Labour Day should be celebrated in September.
Mr. Viera concluded by noting; “We have shared our findings with the Premier and given the overwhelming support to continue to celebrate labour day on the first Monday in September, we hope this ends the discussion on any change.”
In their initial response, the business community stated that the move would be detrimental to commerce for a number of reasons including but not limited to the following:
- Our tourism product is most closely aligned with North America, and any change would negatively impact traditional Labour Day holiday patterns:
- Adding another, third national holiday to the April/ May calendar would be extremely detrimental to commerce. May is the first full month of our tourism season and is much busier than September, so the cost to retailers and restaurants in particular would be significant if they were forced to either close or operate on over time;
- Equally, the financial services industry would be impacted unfairly if they were forced to close for an additional day within the second quarter and again in the third;
- It was also noted that although it is not a National holiday, the Friday of the Annual Exhibition, when schools are closed, constitutes a fourth holiday day in the same period.