Ferry Services Suspended, Workers Attend BIU

March 14, 2013

[Updated with video + Transport Minister remarks] There is some form of disruption to the ferry services today [Mar 14], and it appears the workers are now attending a meeting at the Bermuda Industrial Union.

Unofficial reports indicate that as of this time [12.20pm] all ferry services have been temporarily suspended, and have been so since around 11.30am. Details are unclear at this time, however we will update as able.

Update 12.47pm: The BIU has confirmed that BIU President Chris Furbert is presently in a meeting with the Marine & Ports staff. Mr Furbert is expected to hold a press conference later today to update on this situation.

Update 2.15pm: Mr Furbert is just beginning a press conference about the matter.

IMG_9956

Update 3.55pm At the press conference Mr Furbert explained the issue stems from the Government’s plans to charter a ferry from overseas. He noted that he has sent emails to both Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell and Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy, and called the lack of reply very “disrespectful to the BIU.” The video of Mr Furbert is below.

Update 4.04pm: A Transport Ministry spokesperson said, “As of 4pm Sea Express Ferry staff have not returned to work. Therefore afternoon and evening commuter services are likely to experience delays. An update will be sent as soon as more information becomes available.”

Update 7.40pm: Minister of Tourism Development and Transport Shawn Crockwell confirmed that the BIU members of Marine and Ports withdrew services at approximately midday, and as of 7pm had not returned to work.

A statement from the Ministry said, “BIU President Chris Furbert did e-mail a letter to the Minister of Tourism Development and Transport on the morning of Wednesday, March 13, 2013 which was followed up by a hand delivered hard copy that same afternoon.

“The letter requested M&P Management meet with staff to discuss a number of ongoing issues. The M&P Acting Director arranged a meeting with the Department’s BIU Divisional Officers for this morning at 9.30 a.m. A number of issues were discussed and an agreement made to hold further meetings. At midday staff withdrew services and held a meeting at BIU Headquarters.

“The BIU requested a further meeting with Ministry officials at 4 p.m. which they attended. Staff have not returned to work and cancellations of service occurred this afternoon and evening.”

Concerning the chartering of an overseas ferry, Minister Crockwell said: “The chartering of a ferry to provide additional capacity this summer season will in no way negatively impact the staff of the Department of Marine and Ports. The proposed charter ferry ‘Millennium’ will cost of $1.2 million and will provide substantial savings over the cost of purchasing a new ferry which is approximately $6 million.

“The Millennium is intended to be used as a dedicated Dockyard to St. George’s service with the vast majority of passengers expected to be from visiting cruise ships, although it will also benefit local passengers. The Millennium, which is intended to be in service for six months, will employ the vessel’s permanent Captain and Engineer, with all other crew being Bermudian, and may require the additional hiring of Bermudians.

“For the Captain and Engineer to operate the ferry is standard practice so that they can ensure the safety and maintenance of their vessel. It should also be pointed out that the process to find a solution for the Dockyard to St. George’s route, including the chartering of a foreign ferry, was commenced in September, 2012.”

The Minister added: “The chartering of the Millennium is in no way an attempt to privatise the Sea Express Ferry Service. On the contrary, this vessel will complement and put less strain on the existing fleet and will have zero impact on staffing levels. This initiative was also supported by the Mayor of St. George’s and the President of the BIU M&P Division during a February 7th, 2013 meeting.”

Minister Crockwell added: “This solution will allow the regular commuters, some of whom get displaced each Summer due to large numbers of visitors, to know that their service will remain intact even when the cruise season is fully upon us.

“Likewise, our partners in the cruise industry, the cruise lines, are now confident that their passengers will be able to enjoy the whole of Bermuda from East to West via a dedicated public service. This additional ferry will be a win/win for Bermudians and visitors alike, and the Ministry is proud to bring this innovative solution.”

The Ministry said benefits of leasing an additional ferry boat include “increased seasonal capacity to meet the demands generated by the introduction of the Norwegian Breakaway, providing relief for the existing ferry system so that improved maintenance practices can be achieved throughout the season and extending the life span of the existing fleet by operating fewer service hours.”

“There will also be increased ferry service frequency and reliability from Dockyard to Hamilton and from Dockyard to St. George’s, providing backup up support during peak times when ships arrive and depart, enhancing the tourism product by providing more frequent and reliable ferry service and improving the economy of St. George’s by providing additional ferry lift.”

Update Mar 15, 7.20am: Ferry services remain suspended as of this morning.

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, News

Comments (166)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

Articles that link to this one:

  1. Ferry Services Suspended For Second Day | Bernews.com | March 15, 2013
  1. Spring break says:

    But what about the kids on Spring Break???
    This better be important

    • winwater says:

      If you can’t even get a ferry service what kind of chances does this island have in the long run..

      • Black Soil says:

        Nice warm up for a General Strike this summer. Think about it. The BIU today called a wild-cat strike because they have not received reply to a letter. Brace yourself.

    • Out of flight says:

      Striking now is dumb and stupid.
      Taking time off from work is dumb and stupid
      shocking given the state of the country.
      so we will end up with no docks or cruise ships.
      The cruise lines have options and will eventually say why bother.
      will the BIU be able to hire people. No
      with all the empty buildings in town they haven’t opened one single store.
      Not one .
      Now they have lit a match.

      • cant fool me says:

        People hav a right to sttrike,f%$$%%g %$#$ wat about OBA NOT FOLLOWING THE RULES N BRINGING IN A PRIVATE BOAT AINT NOBODY TALKN BOUT DAT!!!!!!!!!

        • Anbu says:

          People r supposed to (by law!!!) give 21 days notice before striking u twit!!!! Now get the hell back to work!!!!

    • cant fool me says:

      Catch d bus…….wahyadumb

  2. Wow service disrupterd again??what for this time??Furbert and his hachmen never superise me anymore..Will they be paid for the lost time again ..Bermuda is truly in a state of 911..

    • sharky says:

      Just saw a group of school children waiting for the 4:10 ferry. When they were told there is no ferry I could see fear and panic in their eyes. I hope these union people are happy!

      • Whistling Frog says:

        LoL! You saw fear and panic in their eyes? LMAO! I guess no one showed them the back way out… You always show your children the secondary out of a situation in case something goes wrong. What that says about their parents/

        • More with less says:

          Wow, I see the excuses still coming fast and furious.

  3. Sandgrownan says:

    Christ, here we go agian…..

  4. Kim Smith says:

    Time to privatise public transportation.

  5. Chris P Bacon says:

    KFC for lunch?

  6. John Does says:

    About time the new government took a leaf out of Maggie Thatchers book. Start fining them for illegal strikes with no notice. Call their loans in etc. Never known a place where the unions think they are government of the country and they do what they want, when they want, with no repercussions for their stupid actions. When BA has a strike when talks break down they at least give customers notice so that can sort out other arrangements.

    • O.B. says:

      Agree. This government needs to squeeze the Union out now. It will be much easier to do than it may appear.

      • islandgal says:

        It’s not Chris’choice. So I guess you mean”SQUEEZE OUT THE WORKERS”
        It ain’t happening. UNITED We Stand.

        • Bermuda Male says:

          Exactly how are the workers being squeezed out?

          They all remain employed and the chartering of an additional ferry is to assist with the tourist season.

          So please explain how the workers are being “squeezed out?”

          • caffee seymour says:

            It’s not Chris Furbert that calls workers’ out sir, the workers tell him what they want to do. They work for Marine & Ports & Chris Furbert works for the Workers.

            Squeezing him out means squeezing the workers out.

            There is no convenient time. We can only wish. At my age I have seen the struggles that workers have been through threw the years.
            Are you telling me that my ancestors paved a way for me & now my generation should just sit back & be passive about things that concern our livelihood? Sorry I may not like the timing, but I understand their cause. Guidance & Protection Always.

        • Portia says:

          No – United we lose tourists, money, and jobs – including the ferry workers. Can’t you see that?

        • Herald says:

          You might be united, but there is no way the the BIU members (specifically)can call themselves workers.

          Chris is as bad a leader as he is a speaker and poker player.

          You all think he is uniting you,, LOL perhaps within your relatively small group but one by one the people of Bermuda are turning their backs on you. Every time your selfish and silly walking off the job actions leave another young child stranded, scared and with no way home,upset you loose the respect and support of another parent nad that growing child. After what happened to my child a few years back, I won’t support Chris, the Union, the BIU gas station or any business that operates or rents from them.

          I encourage others to make a statement and do the same.

        • Mad Dawg says:

          Aren’t “workers” people who actually work?

          These are layabouts.

        • Ted says:

          I take it you use the term ‘workers’ loosely?

    • Hmmmmm says:

      “call their loans” ? Listen to yourself. I don’t support this wildcat stuff either but “call their loans”? whoa !

      • Octavia says:

        Ha. They still owe the taxpayer for that bond. Oh wait. The bond was forgiven in exchange for promising to stop these wildcat stikes and “meetings”!

        • Building a better Bermuda says:

          So I guess it is time to call the bond, they aren’t holding up their end

    • Newly Optimistic Bermudian says:

      I totaly agree fine them as life is a 2 way street and laws and agreements are for all parties not just the Unions to do what they want. Respect each other and stick to the agreementsas they were negotiated.

    • Ben Dover says:

      Scargill rules!

      • Sandgrownan says:

        Recently lost is NUM pad in London i hear…good little socialist he was…eh

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      And what happened to Margaret Thatcher?

      • Cowpolly says:

        She became a Dame and had a movie made about her life – that’s what happened to her!

        • John Does says:

          Exactly, not all her decisions were popular ones, however she was honest and not scared of anyone. I don’t think we would have the Uyghur problem if she was still in power, they would have been sent back to the US a long time ago. Where is Ewart right now while the castle walls are falling down, and tough questions need to be answered? Hiding in the shadows enjoying his wealth I am sure.

      • Herald says:

        Ah…. Laverne, the great defender! Sh ouldn’t you be concentrating on making sure your Union Accountng is up to date. How can you and Chris call yourselves “leaders” when you let the workers books dfall 10+ years behind.

        We know your story, we’ve seen it before on shows like American Greed.

        Before the investors or the government start asking about the state of their finances, disctract them with some drama, in this case a strike because Mr. Furby Wwuby didn’t get his email returned on time?

        Good one, but the workers will get wise and stand up to the two of you and ask, where has our money gone. I’m hagambling that much of it has disappeared into Llolys Well!

        Get your Captn Crunch decoder rings out and see haw many of you can decode that one…lol

      • Mad Dawg says:

        She beat the lazy miners LaVerne. She beat them thair lazy asses and they never recovered. Thay ate sh!t. That’s what happened.

      • Ted says:

        She broke the unions and made the UK a better place to work and live.

        Go read a book!

  7. Paradise Reclaimed says:

    Seriously? Really? Again? Holy ****!

  8. Really? says:

    Here we go again. The hatches a filling with water quicker then the pumps can handle it and certain members of this island are going around opening bulkhead doors…

    Pretty soon the ship will be at the bottom of the ocean. Good bye Bermuda change of Government hasn’t done anything should have known it was all a big scam.

    • Fed Up says:

      good grief give them a chance you can’t make changes that your looking for in a couple of months. Get real with yourself.

  9. Bermydude says:

    What a JOKE!!! Furbert just needs to get lost!! All workers that went to this meetings shouldn’t get paid so they can learn there lesson, have theses meeting on Saturdays!!!

    • Concerned says:

      and there is his side kick – Glenn as always…. wanna abe like Chris

  10. rubber bong says:

    Come on people, its a meeting not a strike. I’d rather them have the meeting now to sort out job issues than in the summer.

    • John Does says:

      Don’t most companies schedule a meeting in advance so people can accommodate it, and plan around it. BIU again thinks that only their issues mater, and everyone else works around it.

      • Hudson says:

        Exactly. Thanks for the advance notice.

      • rubber bong says:

        But we don’t know how long this has been playing out. It’s not a staff meeting they are having. Its a meeting because of events that have taken place before today. So i’d be with you if this was something that was foreseen but if its an effect to a cause thats different.

    • Mad Dawg says:

      No, rubber bong, it’s a strke. The meeting was over and they were on strike for the rest of the day.

      Lazy gits.

  11. John Does says:

    Does the UK of the 80s, not sound like Bermuda now.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3067563.stm

  12. Victor says:

    One thing for sure, the BIU-PLP Burgess Furbert Bean clique are hell bent on destroying Bermuda since they were rejected by the legitimate voice of the people.

    • Hudson says:

      Agreed, and when nobody has a job, we’ll all scream it was the UBPs fault, and vote the same people back into power that put us in this position in the first place.

      • Katlyn says:

        Perhaps correct information needs to be told.The PLP Govt signed the contract for the mega ships to come here.Last summer the Chamber met and the questions raised were”how are we going to transport 4000 plus people from Dockyard??? we dont have that many buses,ferries or taxis!
        The burning issue was and is How are we going to do this?The PLP new how many people were coming and hadnt figured out the transporting of them,what do you think they would do???
        Lets be real people if there are all those long lines in the heat with thousands of people,this means bad press and no returning to Bermuda.PLP you have spent a huge amount of time pulling the OBA apart lets all work for the country and hopefully a great much needed tourist season.

  13. Deliverance says:

    why doesn’t the govt issue water taxi licenses? just like we have a choice on land between the bus or a taxi why not have a choice between the ferry and water taxis?

    • Scott says:

      With modern ship security policies, i beleive its not as easy as just handing out licenses. Operators have toe be screened, cleared, etc with international qualifications… or something along those lines

      • Eastern says:

        @ Deliverance & Scott

        why are you commenting on something that you know nothing about. Government will issue licenses for water taxi’s, but water taxi’s are not financially viable. First you have to have a pilots license and then the vessel has to be laid out in a specific way in order for you to operate it with one person. (If you had a crew member you’d be paying him with all the profits) And then you have to pay for fuel, insurance and the maintenance of the boat.
        Why bother if you have a pilots license; when you could be making big bucks working as a ferry pilot, tugboat pilot or working in the private sector as a tour boat pilot.
        Some people have tried it, but you couldn’t make a decent living from it.

        • Deliverance says:

          thanks for putting it in perspective Eastern.

  14. SoMuchMore says:

    disturbing to say the least… though they should have given the public notice i hope this meeting was good enough that previous notice was not needed.

    this meeting should cover EVERYTHING pertaining to the summer and no services should be disrupted once the season begins.

    let’s get the ball rolling and turn this island around because in the long run everyone gets effected.

  15. Nicky says:

    Sick and tired of Chris Furbert and the BIU!!

  16. Nuffin but de Truth! says:

    until Furbert and the biu and plp are a thing of the past …
    Bermuda will NEVER get back on its feet.

  17. pissed says:

    Your all idiots. Its about a foreign ferry coming to bermuda and the crew getting paid a vast amount more money than the bermudian workers….

    • Bermuda Male says:

      That’s fine.

      But you don’t inconvenience the taxpaying public because you don’t like a certain outcome or event.

      There are rules governing strikes and the lot. It was promised, in return for the forgiveness of the Berkeley bond by Dr. Brown, that these wildcat actions would stop.

      Take a page out of the BPSU’s book whose members issued a 21 day notice a few weeks back in regards to certain grievances they had with management.

      This constant dropping of tools, without seeking any primary explanation, just inconveniences the public who pays for these workers to remain in their jobs. It isn’t a good way to garner sympathy or support.

      There are rules for striking. And since the BIU is the first to kick up about perceived breaches of CBAs, you would think that they would also follow the rules.

      This do as I say and not as I do attitude is simply disrputive to people who don’t deserve it.

      • islandgal says:

        If we sat back and did nothing. You would have us back in the days of the ball and chain.

        I can tell by some of the comments made on this post.
        Worked to hard to get to where we are. Not turning back now.
        “Workers’ have your meeting so that this is all worked out before summer comes.

        • Bermuda Male says:

          You always have the option of acting like a sensible Union and wait to get the facts before downing your tools and piss off the people that pay your wages and keep you in your job.

          Why can’t the BIU, like the BPSU, issue a 21 day strike notice like all sensible Unions do when they feel aggrieved?

          And your over exaggeration of ball and chain just helps you in losing more support from the public. The civil servants CBA affords them many perks that aren’t found in the private sector.

          So please explain to all of us about how any workers’ rights are being adversely affected?

          Lay out the facts and leave out the emotional nonsense.

          • Huson says:

            Bermuda Male – Bernews needs a like button… I 100% agree.

      • Impressive says:

        The only power these people have is the collective power of the services they provide on a daily basis, so the only way to make their voices heard is to withdraw their services.. From what I understand, they have concerns and wrote to the Ministry to voice their concerns, the ministry have not responded to them, or not in a timely manner which shows a lack of respect for them and the the services they provide.. Since the new government has been in power we have seen a few initiatives that seem more geared to the non Bermudian than the Bermudian,, You can’t blame the natives to feel concerned about that they see as a threat to their livelyhood. Whether their fears are real or not, the ministry should address them and communicate with the workers in a respectful manner.. Judging by the comments on this blog, it seems many do not want the Union to have any power in society, which is very concerning.. Everyone has a right to have their voices heard, especially when it affects putting food on their table and feeding their families.. One thing for sure, we have some very cynical and hateful people in this island and its causing a very alarming tension.

        • Eastern says:

          Okay Impressive: Then give us our 700 thousand dollars back then. A deal is a deal!!!

    • Clive Spate says:

      Still should have given notice to the public.

      If this is the issue then Bermudians would be on the Unions side. Not giving public notice of disruptions doesn’t do the Union any favours.

      • golden says:

        @Clive Spate I 100% totally agree with you.. Some sort of notice should have been warranted.
        My issue is that there are only two ferries running not including the Paget ferry. Where are the other 4? Also when is the window on the western ferry going to get fixed?

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Perhaps if the PLP had not f&$ked up the wharf, we wouldn’t need a tender.

    • Portia says:

      pissed, how do you know that? According to Division President Mr. Sinclair, “little was known of what staff would accompany the Millennium. The only information we have, and it’s not concrete, is that it will have a part-owner, an engineer and possibly crew.”

      Doesn’t sound like they know much about WHO is coming, and WHAT they will be doing, much less what they’re getting paid!

      Is this the union strategy, to strike based on half-truths and possible mis-information?

      That’s not going to cut it anymore, mate.

    • blankman says:

      So you know how much they’re being paid?

    • OMG says:

      @pissed and how do you know what they are getting paid? Our ferry’s cannot do the job so who is going to do it – the fairy godmother?

    • Mad Dawg says:

      Pissed, so what. We’re all fed up with the lazy frikkin union wankers. Fire their lazy asses. Hire people who want to work without causing disruption every five minutes.

      When there are no tourists you’ll all be blaming someone else, I know that.

  18. Navin R. Johnson says:

    probably someone got fired and they want them reinstated….can Furburt just issue a press release to all members regarding the nature of the issue without disrupting the entire island…although he has bragged in the past about being able to close the island down when he wants to…..

  19. What is going on? says:

    It’s time to take a stance and stop this nonsense. Chris Furbert and the BIU have to go…… their days are done. Let’s move on.

  20. swing voter says:

    jokers the lot of them. not one of them know the meaning of customer service. My union would never behave in this manner. I don’t know why we’re in TUC with these ner’do wells ;-(

  21. Bermuda Male says:

    So Mr. Furbert claims that Mr. Crockwell is “utterly disrespectful” because he hasn’t received a response from a letter he sent to Mr. Crockwell late yesterday afternoon (less than 24 hours).

    Isn’t this the same man that claimed that the Government was “utterly disrespectful” because they only gave the BIU 6 business days to respond to the Term Limits paper?

    So in other words Mr. Furbert believes that any correspondence sent by the BIU to teh Government should be responded to immediately while the BIU should be given all the time they need to respond to any concerns they put forward.

    SMH

    And the ferry being brought in is to assist with the transportation issues that we encountered last summer that pissed off so many tourists.

    Good luck Bermuda going forward, you are seriously going to need it with this organization and there explicit goal of disrupting the new Government at any cost.

    I just wonder when the BIU paying members will finally rise up and question the BIU management about the poor state of their finances and as to exactly where their monthly fees have been going. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  22. street wise says:

    Ludacris Furbert is a fossil. The BIU in its current incarnation is a has-been. Modern Unions are run like businesses. Professionally.

  23. Fed Up says:

    Maybe they are going to charter a ferry from overaseas beause ours are in such disrepair. what is wrong with that, at least it gives us time to get ours back in order.

    • Bermuda Male says:

      I agree.

      Have you guys seen the state of our ferries lately?

      Boarded up windows, bromen air conditioners, hulls that look like they have hit every rock and dock on their respective routes.

      Definitely not a good look for our tourists. Makes us look like a 3rd world country without a doubt.

    • Bermyman says:

      And they are on strike every week during the summer, when we need them most!

  24. HARMONY says:

    I’M SICK AND TIRED OF CHRIS FURBERT’S WAYS!!! FED THE FRIG UP!
    ALWAYS DOWNING TOOLS, THE LAWS NEED TO BE CHANGED IN REGARDS TO THESE THINGS AND PAY NEEDS TO START BEING CUT WHENEVER THEY DOWN TOOLS WITHOUT TAKING THE PROPER CHANNELS!! TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED BY THIS CRAP!
    THEY ARE GOING TO WAIT UNTIL PEOPLE BOYCOTT THE DARN FERRIES AND THEN SEE WHAT CHRIS FURBERT CAN DO FOR YOU WHEN YOU ALL LOSE YOUR JOBS!! STOP FOLLOWING THAT IDIOT! I WISH PEOPLE ON THIS ISLAND WOULD START FIGHTING FOR REAL MATTERS INSTEAD OF PETTY CRAP!
    I BET YOU MORE THAN 50% OF THE MARINE AND PORTS STAFF COULD CARE LESS ABOUT THIS SITUATION.

  25. Bermyman says:

    In other words, we need a non-unionized service to ferry cruise passengers without the threat of delay or strike. Makes sense, the damage that was done last summer by the unions to Bermuda’s tourism transport system must not be repeated.

    privatize the whole lot, then we don’t have to worry about the overpaid ferry and bus staff striking every time someone is fired for drunk driving or they feel like taking a sick day once a week.

    I am sure there are some people out there who would love to work for a private ferry company, especially in this economy.

    The Unions are poison to our economy and our Island.

  26. The Truth! says:

    I have a feeling that the BIU will be holding Bermuda to ransom over these next five years!

    The irony is that it will be their members who most likly will suffer the most.

    These wildcat work interuptions must be stopped, or we are all doomed.

  27. Big girls don't Cry says:

    tourists stranded in Dockyard – they are not happy. They were overheard saying ” Never coming here again”. Great job Chris F ! Way to encourage return visitors.
    And the poor kids that were left stranded without transportantion home after school?? what an embarrassment!

  28. James Rego says:

    War-baby Fox, one of the larger Ferries has been out of the water since November and doesn’t look like it’s going back in anytime soon. One of the smaller Ferries is also up on the dock at Dockyard, this one has been on dry dock for about a month, the repairs on this one is progressing. Maybe this is why Government is bringing one in from abroad? We are two Ferries short at this present time!

    • Mariner says:

      If the number of ferries are not enough to move the passengers, why not utilize the local tours boats that may be available? Has been done in the past.

      • OMG says:

        And at what cost? bet the import boat will be far cheaper!! Ask a local boat what his rate is and I bet you will have to mortgage your house to pay for a rental.

        • Johnny says:

          Your statement shows that we Bermudians are not prepared to work together, if this is such a crisis wouldn’t you think that the local boat owners would jump to help the island in a time of need and offer their vessels at a reasonable rate. But some of us will say “why should the rich boat owners lower their prices, and think that it is ok. Judging by most of the comments posted, a lot of us have no real concern for bermudian workers, but just want to bash the BIU and the PLP. Some of us act as though Bermudians should not have any rights, and because you hate the PLP so much you cannot see any good done by the PLP, and will blindly follow the OBA, even at the expense of the Bermudian worker. The OBA has made a few mistakes in their short time in power, which is to be expected, but some of us are prepared to give the OBA a free pass. If any govt makes bad decisions, they must be held accountable. I mean if you fired 1 worker because they messed things up, are you gonna just let the new worker do similar things?

    • Webster says:

      stand strong Mr Crockwell,do not let the likes of Chris Furbert ruin our tourism season…..

  29. Get on with it says:

    What’s all the hoopla about Mr. Furbert? Does Bermuda have big enough and adequate ferries on temporary basis with overtime that don’t break down and hold tourist on cruise ships at ransom? No we don’t. For the sake of tourism, for the sake of the 4,000 people on the cruise ship who need to be ferried between the wharf and the cruise ship while the wharf in Dockyard is being repaired, we need a ferry a little smaller than the size of Staten Island ferry but much bigger than the Bermudiana. Why call a wildcat meeting? Why not consult with the ministry of tourism first to get details? Start encouraging your members to be more sensitive to the many unemployed Bermudians who can’t find work because of the negative publicity spread to our potential tourist who wanted to vacation here. Bermuda is too small for this stupidity. Some more diplomacy needs to be in order here. Everytime there is something wrong work it out properly first and then if that doesn’t work out then do your thing.

  30. Malachi says:

    Boy! Wish I had a big boat or two – I would ferry folks for free just to send the big Union idiot a message.

    Why do union members put up with this crap? They are the ones losing out.

    If you study the financial statements of the BIU, you will note that during a period of about five or six years, more than $9 Million was spent on salaries while less than $20,000 was spent on members benefits.

    Are all union members idiots too?

  31. Chris P Bacon says:

    CF is pushing things too far. When is Government going to have the testicles to break the Union. Fire all the ferry staff and hire new. There would be loads of people applying in the first ten minutes.

  32. HeyBye says:

    Oh for cry it out loud, this friggin union has to be squashed.
    They have out lived their useful purpose, from the days of old.
    Now that they cannot get their way with this government like with the last, they are taking us all down the road of third world status.

    We need new equipment but cannot afford it so chartering is the next best thing. The union leadership needs to understand that we all have to work together to get Bda back on its feet.

    To strand visitors after paying their life savings to cruise to Bda and not to get any sort of value in return; will kill us before we even start to revive tourism.

  33. SoMuchMore says:

    Anything video with Chris in it, I am NOT listening too… anyone else in favor? LOL

  34. SoMuchMore says:

    can’t talk and never makes any sense. LOL

  35. Wow says:

    Furbert is a useless ——

  36. When you dont know says:

    WHAT IS DISTURBING IS THAT MOST THE COMMENTS ARE GEARED TO NAME CALLING OUR FELLOW BERMUDIANS. THE WORKERS FELT THEY NEEDED CONCRETE ANSWERS WITHIN A TIMELY MANNER AND TO GET THE MESSAGE OUT TO THE MINISTER THAT IGNORING THEM WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. BIU IS FOR THEIR MEMBERS AND THE MEMBERS HAVE SPOKEN. IF YOU KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT UNIONS ON A WHOLE YOU WOULD KNOW THAT STRIKES ARE DECIDED BY THE MEMBERS.

    WE THE PEOPLE VOTED THE CURRENT GOVT IN AND THEY NEED TO RESPECT THAT SOME OF THE VOTING MEMBERS ARE LOOKING FOR ANSWERS. CHRIS STATED THAT A RESPONSE STATING THEY ARE LOOKING INTO IT WOULD HAVE AVOIDED THE MEMBERS FROM STRIKING. I DONT CARE WHO IS IN POWER PLP UBP OBA IT JUST HAS TO BE A GROUP PEOPLE WHO’S AIM TO GET BERMUDA TO STATE OF UNITY.

    • Hey says:

      SO if you want concrete answers….why did you need to all attend a meeting….Why not just have the BIU ask the minister giving the minister adequate time to gather the answers and have a meeting arranged between Furbert and the minister for the minister to give the answers.

      Instead you all took the afternoon off work and caused a national crisis.

      It is a wildcat strike with no notice… come on OBA STAMP ON THIS NONSENSE THAT IS KILLNG BERMUDA. Come on BIU you are killing any reputation you have left.

    • OMG says:

      Why – no-one will be out of a job and everyone will benefit? Why is this such a problem?

  37. Mariner says:

    Interesting that everyone is focusing on the disruption to the ferry service (while true it is an inconvenience) and not the reason for the concern of the ferry staff.

    If a boat is being chartered and is coming to the island and be run with foreign crew as opposed to locals, even if simply being considered, that is concerning.

    I would not see a Bermuda crew taking the tender “Bermudian” to the US and run a ferry service in New York harbour…would never be allowed when it could be done by Americans.

    If the number of ferries are not enough to move the passengers, why not utilize the local tours boats that may be available? Has been done in the past.

    • Who wrote the report? says:

      Pretty sure the statement above from the Minister states that the crew will be Bermudian.

    • Who wrote the report? says:

      Tour boats from Dockyard to St. George? People don’t have time or want to spend 2 hours traveling each way!

  38. Marnie says:

    Please settle your grievances without striking every time you are in disagreement with management. This has happened too often over the past few years. Tourism is already suffering and this certainly doesn’t help. Be assured the tourists are not sympathetic. We are only there for a week and want reliable transportation.

  39. Everett Outerbridge says:

    OBA, don’t give in to the Union. They are like Rush Limbaugh. Remember him. He wanted Obama to fail, regardless of what it might mean for the average American. He didn’t care about the rest of the American population, he just wanted Obama to fail. The Union doesn’t care about Bermuda. They just want to see the OBA Government fail.

  40. CFC says:

    No one is losing their jobs over this. It sounds like Gov’t is fixing a well known problem.

    Mr. Furbert thinks that he is charge of Gov’t and that they have to run everything by him. I don’t remember the country electing him to be in charge. Get out of the way Mr. Furbert you are killing this country!

    • Webster says:

      cfc, you are so on the money !!!! Chris Furbet needs to realize that he does not run our Island… Bermuda has had enough of the B.I.U. WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU Furbert….

  41. jh says:

    The U14 Canadian Rugby Team was supposed to take the ferry to Dockyard tomorrow so they could see the island from another perspective and enjoy the ride! So much for that.

  42. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Unbelievable – 80 posts and and 2(?) real names – LaVerne Furbert and Everett Outerbridge (?)!! How did you all vent your frustrations before Bernews?

    • LaWerne Furbert says:

      How do we know that’s your real name?

      • LongWorn Fruitbat says:

        Some people are forced to use false names because, if they say anything in disagreement with the PLP/BIU they risk being branded as racist – since that’s the only argument PLP/BIU has.

    • Mad Dawg says:

      What’s wrong LaVerne? Are you against free speech? Or do you only support it when it!’s a rude fat guy shouting in the Premier’s face?

    • Pat Simmons says:

      Troubles counting there Laverne? From the comments above I counted at least 7 bloggers who posted using a full name in addition to the two you mention.

      James Rego says:
      March 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Chris P Bacon says:
      March 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm

      Navin R. Johnson says:
      March 14, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Clive Spate says:
      March 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Kim Smith says:
      March 14, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      stewie griffin says:
      March 14, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Ben Dover says:
      March 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      The last name may actually be a pun intended :) but a full name none the less. I guess you can now also add my name to the list.

      I’ll never understand what difference it makes though. Full name, real name, screen name or anonymous it is still a person’s right to express their opinion.

      • Come Correct says:

        She wants names so she can hurl personal insults like she does on a constant basis with the pastor.

        Still hurting from the 17th aren’t you Laverne? Your precious BIU will soon follow.

      • Sandgrownan says:

        She counts as well as the Union handles it’s accounts

    • Clive Spate says:

      Your two posts have been pointless.

      You asked what happened to Thatcher and pointed out people hide behind usernames.

      Can you justify why there was no notice given to the public, schoolchildren have been left stranded and that the service has been disrupted for at least six hours?

      Thank you.

    • John Does says:

      Names are not important, but the voices are. Wake up will you and understand the facts. Some of us, don’t want to get harassed but just get our point across. Just reading the comments on both here, and the royal gazette the majority are saying the same thing, everyone has had enough of the BIU. They should learn to act like professionals, i.e. more like the BPSU and then more people outside the BIU would take them seriously on the issues which they are trying to get across to the public.

    • OMG says:

      and pleaseeeeee tell me what differance would a real name do?

      The differance is someone is trying to assist the bread and butter of our economy and the BIU is having a meeting to tell everyone they have been disrespected?

      Again pleaseeeee it is the Bda public that is being dis-respected!!

      Too bad we cannot vote for a new Marine & Ports crew like was done to the PLP.

    • jt says:

      Not by calling wildcat strikers Laverne.

    • Victor says:

      My guess is that many people choose pseudonyms so as not to be the victims of lynching both online and otherwise. Many times through the years I’ve seen people invited for a frank and open sharing of their views; and when the audience does not like what they hear, they (metaphorically speaking) lynch them.

      One particular example I remember well: way back in the early nineties, Julian Hall organised a frank and open discussion on the subject of status Bermudians: a well known advertising business owner who had given the better part of his life to Bermuda and created much prosperity through his endeavours was asked to speak as a status Bermudian. His message that he resented being treated as a second class citizen and that he had given much to this country resulted in Mr. Hall and his mob organising a petition to take away his status. So much for “frank and open” discussion when even educated persons like Mr. Hall stoop so low. Time and again from all sides of the spectrum, individuals who speak out are shot down.

  43. Ignorance is bliss says:

    Before you know what you are talking about learn the facts. This should have happened months ago! Why don’t you ask your minister why the Serenity has no engine! For over a year. Oh because it has been lost overseas somehow! Crews have been working 14hr shifts while, mechanics and electricans have to produce miricales with limited or no parts or time to do jobs! Ignorance is bliss!

    • d.o. says:

      And who was the government then? you do say a year. Further I drove past both dry docked ferries numerous times, Not lunch hour or break time or meeting time but “normal working hours”, saw ZERO M&P working let alone even near the ferries. Oh yeah they were down in the engine room NOT. Most were lounging around the building/work shop.

      • Just looking at it says:

        You forgot the phones, they must be government issued they way they use them all the time.

  44. 32n64w says:

    The BIU are holding the country hostage purely for political gain and to obtain leverage over the OBA. Why doesn’t he just admit his self serving actions are contrary to the voter’s best interests? Everyone with half a brain can see this.

    Mr. Furbert hypocritically complains about being disrespected while the public is left stranded and uninformed so workers can attend a mid-day meeting. The BIU are the disrespecting bullies in this scenario. They should be ashamed.

    Mr. Furbert complains he hadn’t received a response to his letter less than 24 hours after delivering it so therfore supports the illegal industrial action. This is a ludicrous, unprofessional and childish position to take and serves only to confirm the political bias of the BIU, endorsing the notion that the PLP/BIU will ALWAYS put their personal interests ahead of he country’s, voters be damned.

    PLP/BIU – Betraying Bermudians since 1998, one stranded child commuter at a time.

  45. Jeff says:

    How do you expect to get 6,000 – 8,000 passengers around the island. Bermuda is a joke. Please give us your solution Mr. Furbert.

  46. And The BS Continues says:

    Thank the good lord that the irresponsible and selfish people just stop work for a meeting. Can you imagine if the surgeons and nurses just stopped work in order to have a meeting. And even if the Fire, Police and Hospital were not essential service I’m sure they wouldn’t just stop work for a meeting because they care about the people they serve and are not selfish. What BS.

  47. Peter says:

    Pretty soon nobody will need to use the ferries to get to work because none of us will have a job!! Keep it up with these wildcat “talks” and that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Thanks to the previous Govt with their poor choice in a contractor for the Heritage Wharf in Dockyard we might not need the chartered ferry from the US as the Cruise Lines will probably continue to cancel cruises. Keep it up Bermuda, soon you will all find out that we aren’t as important as we think we are!

  48. Eastern says:

    Mr. Furbert said three times (I may have lost count) in his speech that the BIU was being disrespected. What about the respect of the tax payer that pays your wages your wages?

    As a former BIU member, you could not pay me to be a member of this “gang”. Fire them all, there are plenty of people out of work to replace them.

  49. drunken ursula says:

    laVerna Furbert is just like Pat the big mouth from Warwick cant stand them….always one sided…

  50. d.o. says:

    I have never been one to use this type of forum but enough is enough. QUOTE. MR FURBERT stated on the news this evening that some of these issues have been going on for 2 years. Let me think now who was the party in power then????. But let us blame this on “lack of respect” by the present govt. I was always taught is earned not demanded

  51. res says:

    would the last person to leave Bermuda please turn out the lights ?

  52. Keepin' it Real...4Real! says:

    The Govt. could save millions of OUR dollars by eliminating Works and Engineering, and The Marine an Ports, by Privatizing these two departments…that way some of the more experienced workers may be able to start their own businesses(with the assistance of HSBC or others) in these two fields and hire their co-workers as employees…Let them get a taste of what operating a profit based business is all about…Govts are put in place to handle our foreign affairs NOT a babysitting service…its a win win situation…has common sense and reality been banned here on this little rock or what!!!???

  53. nevadat says:

    1. Why would a broke @”‘ government spend 1.2million dollars to rent one ferry boat, then turn around and spend another 1.3 million to refurbish the existing fleet??
    2. If the M&P staff member’s had not downed tools today when would’ve staff or the public be made aware of the facts!?
    3. You all need Union101 classes. And how it works. If you ain’t sure,ask questions before being so critical about the union head!!
    All M&P members wanted were answers to who..when..how much ..why….and it took going through all this to get them!?
    Its sad and unfortunate for all effected
    But now we all know the facts,,,,,

    • Bullseye says:

      They are simply being too heavy-handed.

      Talking about the old struggle doesnt say anything about the last decade of wealth of opportunity for laziness the current union members enjoy. They have premium benefits and vacation and sick days, but down tools at the drop of a hat. Working people resent that.

    • Grubster says:

      I’m sure we could all have been made aware of the facts via Bernews, or other media. Can’t someone write an article or a letter. It’s not like Bermuda is full of top news facts every day.

    • media says:

      They are spending that kind of money to make sure that the cruise lines and passengers are satisfied with the transportation in Bermuda this summer unlike last summer. If we had another season like last year we would be losing another cruise line no doubt. The cruise business is worth a lot more than 1.3 mil to Bermuda in a year. So I say it is a good solution for the short to medium term, as we can’t afford another ferry for a while.

      What exactly are the workers so upset about? Are they missing out on potential overtime by this ferry being brought in? Feeling disrespected seems to be the newly coined phrase to stir emotions. I say we are in a period of adjustment and this is all part of the process of coming to terms with the fact that they no longer have the ear of Government as before.

  54. Bermudian says:

    Fire these jokers and hire people who want to work. Better still, do away with this union!

  55. Unimpressed Somerset Girl says:

    As always…. ….. The only ones truly hurt by their strike is us. The working class Somerset folks….. Thank God we know how to stick together and make sure the “regular riders” get home safely. So much for being concerned about Bermudians. Sounds to me like BIU is only concerned about Big Business not public service.

  56. Wondering says:

    Wasn’t there strikes etc when the PLP was in power?? Or those don’t count because they are apparently PLP people? Do we know for fact that all these members or BIU vote for PLP or OBA?? Show me the facts….um just wondering

  57. Seriously???!!!?? says:

    Is the ferry as public transportation an essential service? If it is there are provision in the Labour Act which govern work stoppages and other types of industrial action for essential services…. The Government would need needs to serve an injunction on the Union containing a penal clause preventing any work stoppages in contravention of the provisions as set out in the Labour Act. in this way the Union could be fined and its officers and members who contravene the provisions o f the injunction could be prosecuted. The Government simply need to use the tools it has at its disposal and stop p#$$y footing around with people and entities who don;t want to abide by the law.

  58. Wornell STeede says:

    As a BIU member I find it very disrespectful for my union to be abusing it’s power especially by using Government workers when Private Unionised company does not have the same leverage as certain Government divisions I.e Bus, Ferry and Sanitation Engineers. We tend to use strikes as our first option when we were taught in BIU seminars that striking should be our last resort in any dispute and furthermore without the support of the public the Union can not survive off all Government workers alone. If we where to pull out divisions that did not really make an impact on our every day lives and using these divisions a different direction would be taken on whether to strike or negotiate as we where taught within the BIU seminars. As the public has stated the situation as well as the ones in the past meaning the Bus Strikes have been very disrespectful to Bermuda, Bermudians and our tourist Industry.
    In saying all of this we as members must realize that we are not living in the 70′s and we are living in a new era were things must be done for the betterment of ALL people of the Island, Black,White and others and we as leaders of this of this once great union need better leadership and better guidance from the persons who were appointed. Our current leaders need to show more respect for the people of this island. WHICH WE ALL CALL OUR HOME

  59. Building a better Bermuda says:

    Time to call the Berkeley bond.

    We are told that this is about grievances going back a couple of years. I am assuming these grievances are about the ferries that are falling apart due to lack of effective maintenance. An issue inhereited by the current administration. If getting effective maintenance is an issue to keep their boats going so they can work better, perhap’s the BIU members would offer to help work on the boats out of hours and without pay as everybody knows that the government doesn’t have enough monies to deal with all our issues right now.

    I feel for the BIU members on this issue, but their actions today have lost my support. These wildcat strikes must end, our society, community and economy can no longer afford to tolerate them. If the BIU can not abide by their requirement to issue notice before taking such action, then the government shouldn’t have to abide by the agreement to not call the Berkeley bond. Time to call the BIU on their missing/incomplete/unsubstantiated financials, and maybe even revoke their ability to operate till they catch themselves up.

    As we are being told, the use of this contracted ferry will not take away bermudian jobs or put any of the functioning ferries out of service, but will aid in getting tourists out of Dockyard that will be overburdened by visiting cruise passengers. Giving passangers the chance to see more of our island as effectively and conveniently is important for our tourism product. Wildcat strikes and service halts aren’t, and will only serve to do more damage to the BIU members in the long run as they weaken our economy. As long as this plan doesn’t negatively impact the bermudian ferry workers and helps get cruise passangers out of the transport bottle necked Dockyard to the rest of our island, then I say go ahead and to the BIU I say get back to work.

  60. Soooooo says:

    So will the ferries be running tomorrow? Should the normai ferry travelers bill the BIU for the expense of alternate transport? Will the lights be turned before we get on the ferry on these dark mornings?

  61. Time Shall Tell says:

    Simple solution, keep the workers happy & they would have no desire to strike. A happy workforce is a better workforce for all.

  62. backbush says:

    hurry up bring that new ferry here and see if we need them maybe they need to bring a private bus to so when biu workers dont feel like working they wont shut the island down

  63. Nuffin but de Truth! says:

    Maggie Thatcher’s name is known around the World..

    Laverne Furbert…who?

  64. Unimpressed Somerset Girl says:

    Will the BIU compensate those of us with monthly passes for the ‘missed’ rides and the additional expense of trying to find alternative transportation?

  65. Ringmaster says:

    So the real background bears little resemblance to the BIU version, and disrespect the BIU showed to Bermuda residents and visitors.
    This was anintiative begun in September 2012. I believe that was several months before the elction, and so was started by the PLP.
    The ferries will have a Captain and Engineer, but all other staff will be Bermudians.
    The workers walked off while talks were still ongoing, so who is disrespecng who? The BIU should have told the workers, and public, the truth.
    Since LaVerne Furbert referenced Margaret Thatcher she clearly admired her non nonsense way of handling the Unions in the UK and wants the same here. I agree.

  66. Just looking at it says:

    Dock not ready!!!
    4000 passengers, $ 400.000,00 lost fees.
    Nobody having a drink or a bite to eat at any of the bars and restaurants, no tee shirts being bought, no ice cream, no fun golf, no snorkel park and the list goes on and on.
    And we are having labour issues on to off that!
    At least we don’t have to worry how to get the visitors around the island.

  67. Chris need to resign says:

    EF gordon must be rooling in his grave everytime that idoit opens his mouth. im my eyes thais looks like an illeagal strike.FIRE THEM ALL AND HIRE PROPLE THAT WILL WORK>!!!! end of story!!!

  68. Furbert is an ASS says:

    We should march to BIU and demand for furbert and his band of idiots to stop making this island worse then it is now!

  69. filobedo21 says:

    So the Union Rep met with Government Managers and given the facts of what the Millennium was being hired for; and that along with their own Captain and Engineer there would be scope for Bermudians hires for deck hands etc, etc, …. and the Union Boss reads the section of the Act that applies to Privatizing Ferries….. Do you all see what is going on here? Any one surprised? Come on OBA please do not get caught on the back foot again…. your statement should have come out earlier!!! You would have the public on your side!!!

  70. mpartiality says:

    The Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) represents blue collar workers who are employed to keep Bermuda’s machinery going. If this is correct please help me to understand why those who are charged with keeping our country running are the same ones who at their and the will of their union leader cripple our beloved country?

    Unions were created to protect the interest of their members. If it were not for unions employees would not be enjoying the handsome salaries they make in absence of higher level education. So unions are very essential.

    Regardless of their importance the BIU MUST understand that their relationship with employers does not always have to be antagonistic . For heaven’s sake Mr. Furbert I urge you to reconsider your very antagonistic approach when representing your workers. Become a leader who they can be proud of. Become a leader that employers and the general public can grow to respect and admire. Your current seemingly “angry” approach to every single flaw is NOT necessary. When you disrupt the country you are more often than not punishing families of those whom your workers serve. Working class types use public transportation more than anyone else! Why would you want to punish those who you are supposed to be representing and others? ,

    Wake up union members. Your families are the ones who suffer most at the whim of you and your leader. It was time for change in Government and it is now time for change in the leadership of the Union. Chris must step down and let someone else more responsible and more of a sound mind take leadership of the union. Under his leadership right thinking, responsible, educated, high thinking employers have suffered. It I time for this nonsense to stop. It is not always necessary for the BIU to bring Bermuda to its knees. Lessons can be taken from the very honourable (in my view) firm but fair Ottiwell Simmons. Others have followed him but none absolutely none can compare to the man.

  71. The another drop tools meeting that didn' t have to happen - really? says:

    If members of the union cannot see this is just another tactic by Mr. Furbert to try and strangle the new govt,you all deserve to fall off the edge like the sheep that you are.

    Granted, I will say that government should have made their decision public to the union and the general public when a decision was finalised, but that still doesn’t allow them the right to just leave work.

    Mr Furbert is trying two things here, he’s trying to prove that he has the power over govt that Ottiwell Simmons had back in the early 80′s, 90′s and he wants to cause a enough disruption so him and his croonies can get back in the next election. Remember he still is a member of the major opposition party.

    And I bet you he expects those workers who walked off the job to be pay for the missed time or OT for working later.

    I’m not for privatising of transportation but the way we’re allowing a dictator disrupt our way of life just because he has a grevious of any can, maybe it is time Bermuda start to look in that direction.

  72. mpartiality says:

    Ottiwell Simmons led the union with class. He was a passionate and fierce leader but the man was able to command respect from others. Mr. Simmons stood up for what was right but he did so with respect. Furthermore he was articulate, knowledgeable and intelligent. This of course was complemented by common sense. If the current leader is trying to emulate Ottiwell Simmons he has a huge amount of work to do. Chris has HUGE shoes to fill but will never fill them in this lifetime. Go away Mr. Furbert. Take a break and allow someone else to bring some respectability back to the union. You do NOT have what it takes to get results in an amicable and respectful way.