BPSU Respond: Public Service Reform Initiative

February 3, 2014

The “Reform Initiative should not be used as a means to erode jobs, pensions and employee benefits,” Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] President Kevin Grant said today.

Yesterday [Jan 2] Premier Craig Cannonier announced the launch of a Public Service Reform initiative which he said was designed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Civil Service.

“The cost of running Government and our current debt crisis threatens to destabilize the foundation of the country,” said Premier Cannonier.

Mr. Grant said that on January 28th, the Premier sent a letter to the Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC], of which the BPSU is a member, regarding the Government’s initiative for Public Service Reform.

On February 1st, Secretary to the Cabinet Dr. Derrick Binns sent an email to all civil servants regarding the same initiative, added Mr. Grant.

“Minister of Finance, Bob Richards, met with members of the BTUC where he discussed the ‘three baskets’ of Public Service Reform, Superannuation [Pension] Reform for public officers and his desire to introduce mutualisation,” said Mr. Grant.

“The BPSU would like to make it clear that this cannot be deemed as consultation, as no specifics were discussed at that meeting.”

Mr. Grant said the BPSU has “always supported and encouraged initiatives to make the Civil Service more productive and efficient, such as:

  • Participation in the Civil Service Review [2000]
  • Volunteered to partner with the Civil Service to improve efficiency, productivity and cost reduction [2009/2010]
  • Prompted a Quality Public Service Campaign [May —June, 2013]“

He said  in their view that the Reform Initiative needs to include the following recommendations:

  • Reducing budget overruns
  • Implementing strategies for succession planning and talent management
  • Controlling Ministerial overrides
  • Aligning policies, goal and measures
  • Improving the checks and balances in the day to day operations of the civil service

“The Reform Initiative should not be used as a means to erode jobs, pensions and employee benefits,” he added.

The BPSU, as a critical stakeholder will make every effort stay abreast of all developments of the Reform Initiative and keep our entire membership informed during each stage of this critical process,” concluded Mr. Grant.

While not correlated with the BPSU’s comments, on a related note to the Reform Intiative, Opposition MP David Burt today tweeted, “Cannonier is heading up the reform of the civil service. How is the man with two Press Secretaries going to bring efficiency to government?”


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Comments (27)

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  1. Ess Ess Dee says:

    Absolutely agree with David Burt’s tweet! Craig is a dreamer!

    • Simple question says:

      So how do we pay for it?

      That’s a simple question so please give a straightforward answer.

    • WillSee says:

      I would prefer a dreamer running this country than a idiot.
      The man cannot give a straight answer,backed by facts, if his life depended on it.
      Just watch him on TV giving interviews.

  2. Sandy Bottom says:

    Scared to death of losing the 14 weeks sick leave and 6 weeks vacation?

  3. Srsly? says:

    “should not be used as a means to erode jobs, pensions and employee benefits”

    Illogical. They are already eroding… Hence the need for the initiative.

  4. Hmmm says:

    Was Burt’s comment approved by the PLP and the position of the PLP ?

    If Burt is proved to be a liar can the PLP afford to keep him? I think not.

  5. Family Man says:

    Wait, this initiative isn’t going to be used to erode benefits like Deluxe Land Rovers with the leather seats and Dolby surround sound does it?

  6. Jus' Askin' says:

    To me, pensions are a ‘ponzi scheme’ and are unsustainable ;-)
    Those that started it and capitalized off of it fully are dead and gone. They knew this day will come but it would not impact them. The pension scheme is flawed and needs to end. I am sorry. but we can no longer afford to carry everyone.

    • Onion says:

      They can easily be sustainable if they’re properly funded – the math is not too different from a private pension scheme covering all workers we have now.

      It runs into problems when it’s not funded and the people responsible for funding it ignore warnings for years until there is a crisis – again, if people want someone to blame for the loss of their benefits and pensions it’s the previous Finance Minister.

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        I feel everyone should manage their own money ;-)
        Private Pension Scheme is not the same as Government Pension Scheme.
        In the private sector that money can be invested and grown. Government is not generating a profit, so it is not sustainable.
        The math is not the same thus it is ‘Ponzi Scheme’

      • It goes back farther than that says:

        When people sounded the alarm about the level of funding of those pension schemes (in the 80′s) their warnings were laughed off. After all, interest rates were in the teens and Bermuda had minimal debt so the actuaries had to be wrong.

        Fast forward to today and we’re in a close to zero interest rate environment and the country is burdened with an absolutely massive debt.

    • Poised says:

      The Superannuation and pension plans/schemes were just fine until they were misused and mishandled to build schools that we don’t need to support the worst education system that this island has ever had.

      Yet another major defect only spoken of but yet to be rectified.

      Change the dang school system back………

    • Betty Dump says:

      I agree. Get rid of them completely. Save your own money, invest etc… and if you don’t… too bad.

  7. Unbelievebale says:

    David Burt tweet (he has so much time on his hands) is pretty disrespectful. The Premier is a legitimately elected member of parliament. God forbid anyone disses him or the PLP. And he accuses others of bias.

    So here we get “Cannonier”.

    further to that, I swear the PLP don’t understand economics. How on earth is the Civil Service meant to sustain itself if it’s bloated? A bloat that was created under David’s party too!

    • Intrigued says:

      140 characters or less (Twitter) You really worried about grammar and respect and titles in a tweet?

      People in this country sure as hell need some weed so they can Chill TFO!

      • Unbelievebale says:

        Although I am for legalisation, I don’t partake in smoking – anything. I have much more sense than that.

        More sense than the PLP’s economic decisions.

  8. Alvin Williams says:

    A government pension is not a give away; government workers also contributes to their pensions which is taken directly out of their pay checks. With all the talk about government pensions being a burden on government finances; this fact is over looked.

    • LOL says:

      Yes but seldom do they contribute the same as what they will derive. So where is the excess coming from? ME!!!!! That what these lazy government workers are overlooking. We are tired of paying for these people who are often incompetent, rude and lazy!
      Its time for everyone to put some skin in the game and the government jobs should be competed for and not mere secure jobs that people think they will naturally retire from.

    • jt says:

      Time to change over to a defined contribution plan like everyone in the private sector.

    • gmsgms says:

      You are correct. It is also abundantly clear that their contributions are not high enough to warrant the pension benefits they are to receive.

      Neither the civil servants nor other taxpayers are on the hook to cover any shortfall in my private pension account. Why must the taxpayers, outside of the civil service, be on the hook for the pensions of the CS?

    • Ride says:

      The problem is that it is a defined benefit plan. Meaning that no matter how little (or much) you put in you are guaranteed a certain payout.

      Unfortunately, as I understand, most are putting in (have put in) much less than they will take out (are taking out). Therefore, it is not suitable.

      It needs to move to a contribution based plan; you get out what you put in (plus profit/loss from how you directed the investment). This is the only sustainable plan; particularly with a shrinking population.

      Who will fund the pensions for the majority of the people that are taking out more than they put in?

      Ride

  9. somuchless says:

    Burt is the one who needs a secretary. His second sentence don’t even make sence. Is this man Ernie or Burt? Lol

  10. Rambling truths.... says:

    All that is wrong is known and can be easily fixed……. IDK Y any Govt. just makes the bold steps to repair the island.

    Canada isn’t afraid to force a reduction in their dollar value and the UK does it too. WHY – because it drives the cost of living down and allows for the existing salary base to be pumped back into the economy and allows for the deficit to be decreased and soon after the “books” get balanced and guess what the dollar value raises steadily and the cost of living remains and the cycle has a rebirth.

    Reducing the employee base and salaries in the islands essential services is the worst idea and OBA plan thus far.

    Doesn’t the Government know what essential means???????

    These are essential to the economic stability of Bermuda. To say the least.

    When is the last time Customs were “allowed’ to hire? Last I heard they were 30% understaffed……………. How much paraphernalia has slipped through our less than protected boarders. How much GOVERNMENT REVENUE has been uncollected.

    Customs generates 1/3 of the countries revenue….. So why are we broke……
    Prisons and Police have been on a higher than normal recruitment drive……… WHY …… Weaker boarders generates higher crime rates.
    Fire Department has been hiring as well. I wonder how many DUI accidents have been attended. People drink ahahahahhahhahahalcohol when they are broke………..

    • Hmmm says:

      Devaluing BMD currency would cause an exodus to USD and eventual collapse of the Bermuda Dollar. The populations money would be next to worthless. The goods brought in would cost the same in USD terms …. the prices in BMD would inflate out of control, just to stay on par with the USD cost of goods. (Only my opinion of course)

  11. Rambling truths.... says:

    * IDK Y any Govt. just doesn’t make the bold steps to repair the island.

  12. clearasmud says:

    as I get nearer to drawing my pension I can assure you that not getting it after 35 years of contributions is a promise that will not get broken. Despite what the Sage commission says the government has a LEGAL obligation to fund it and I for one would not hesitate to take them to court. Yes the pension fund is underfunded but it has been that way for 20+ years. do the math. Yes BOTH previous governments are responsible for its current state! While it needs to be changed for all future government employees it cannot be changed for present ones. If the Finance Minister wants to break some promises let him begin with the politicians pensions which for most is not the only pension they have but I am sure that has not been mentioned!

    • inna says:

      LOL, so when you go to the bank to cash that FIRST pension cheque and the teller says it has bounced, what do you propose to do?

      And please tell me what math i can do to come to the conclusion that the pension fund has been underfunded for the past 20 years?

      And further, promises being broken is a direct result of the way the system has been set up. It will be highly unfair to leave X amount of employees on a DB plan where they are guaranteed a chite load more than new Y employees who are brand new to a DC plan. The fundamental difference between them: with DB, the benefit (pension payments) is predetermined and contributions are made each year to make that goal, whereas with DC the money that is accrued throughout the contribution period is used to make pensions payments regardless of how much it is. take a look here:

      There’s a basic difference in the ways in which Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution plans accumulate retirement benefits. This issue is the key to identifying the value of each type of plan. A Defined Contribution plan deposits an amount of money on a periodic basis to an employee’s account; the contribution may be determined as a percentage of pay or as a flat dollar amount. Then, the employee invests this money to earn investment income on the deposited contributions. The account grows with future contributions and further investment income until such time as the employee elects to retire and take the account balance. Some Defined Contribution plans also allow the employee to convert the account balance into a periodic form of payment such as an annuity.
      The Defined Benefit plan works in exactly the opposite way. An account balance isn’t accumulated for the employee, but instead, each year the employer’s aggregate contribution to the Defined Benefit plan “purchases” a periodic payment at retirement for each employee. An accrued benefit builds up for the employee that is then paid out periodically to the employee upon retirement. Some Defined Benefit plans allow conversion of the periodic payment to a lump sum balance at retirement so that the employee may take the entire interest from the Defined Benefit plan.
      This distinction between Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution plans may not seem important on the surface, but it’s critical in terms of how retirement income accumulates for an employee.

      Which one do you think, in todays economic climate, is more sustainable??