Minister Obtains Injunction In Ferry Dispute

February 20, 2014

[Updated] In the wake of this latest dispute, which has seen ferry workers withdraw service, Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy said that yesterday evening [Feb 19] Minister of Tourism & Transport Shawn Crockwell was successful in obtaining an injunction from the Chief Justice in an effort to ensure that essential services resumed.

The Government said, “This specifically relates to those workers engaged in port and dock services including pilotage, tug and line boat operation as identified in the Labour Relations Act 1975. It is understood that pilotage services in this area have largely resumed. However other workers remain out.

“Meanwhile, discussions are ongoing as between representatives of the Ministry of Tourism Development and Transport, the Bermuda Industrial Union [BIU]  and Ministry of Home Affairs, Workforce Development officers to come to a resolution.

“Should those discussions not be successful then the next step is for the Minister of Home Affairs to refer the essential services dispute to arbitration.

“As regards the so called non-essential services, such as ferry operators, the Minister of Home Affairs advises that consent has not been obtained from both parties to enable a reference to be made to arbitration under the Labour Relations Act 1975.

“Accordingly, the Minister of Home Affairs has exercised his discretion to refer the matter to arbitration under the Labour Disputes Act 1992 and has therefore issued a Labour Dispute Notice.

“Section 19 of the Labour Disputes Act 1992 is clear – that after notice is published in the (Official) Gazette, a lock-out, strike or irregular industrial action short of a strike is unlawful. It is expected that since the Notice has been issued, all non-essential service workers should withdraw any action and return to work.

Today Minister Fahy said, “We’ve only just recently dealt with industrial issues a couple of weeks ago which saw the public adversely affected due to curtailed services. There are collective bargaining agreements in place, as well as statutory provisions that govern dispute resolution. It is imperative that such procedures are followed.

“I shared my views regarding the importance of following the statutory framework with the Labour Advisory Council this past Friday. The process cannot work effectively unless and until those affected can come together in the spirit of mutual respect and collaboration.

“As it relates to this latest impasse, again, it is my hope that the parties can come together to try and find a resolution that benefits all concerned.”

Staff from Marine & Ports remained off the job this morning [Feb 20], with all ferry service suspended and workers seen gathered outside BIU headquarters.

Yesterday staff downed tools, however later returned to work to take evening commuters home. At a press conference that afternoon, BIU President Chris Furbert described various issues staff have, and said they will be off the job today.

During the industrial action over the Hamilton Princess issue recently, Mr. Furbert had warned that there were problems with both Marine & Ports and the Parks Department.

Update 4.50pm: A Govt. spokesperson confirmed that the ferries are not running.

Update 5.03pm: Shadow Transport Minister Lawrence Scott said the industrial action Bermuda is experiencing could and should have been avoided, saying: “This strike did not have to happen”

He said, “Minister Crockwell’s continued mismanagement and inattention to ferry worker’s legitimate concerns at the Ministerial level was a significant contributing factor to this labour action; and, unfortunately both Bermudians and visitors to our island, have been made to suffer the inconvenience”.

Mr. Scott continued: “It may be recalled that the workers, supported by my Shadow Ministry identified, the lack of managerial oversight, accountability, and the misuse and mismanagement of the Millennium Ferry as a key issue that would lead to fiscal overspending and labour problems. Now, in addition to other issues this has led to today’s industrial action which should have been avoided.

“The PLP is deeply concerned about the ongoing labour dispute between the One Bermuda Alliance government and ferry workers. For months the workers have sought a face to face meeting with the Minister, in order that they may express their concerns; but, their call has been ignored.

“I know from first hand experience that after I have met with the workers since October 2013, I have repeatedly brought their concerns to the attention of the Minister and the general public via the media, and statements on the floor of the House of Assembly.

“However, regrettably, it would appear that both my efforts and that of the workers to get a amicable resolution to this matter have been irresponsibly ignored by Minister Crockwell.”

Update 5.26pm: Video of BIU President Chris Furbert’s press conference today

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  1. Labour Dispute: Ferry Service Still Suspended | Bernews.com | February 21, 2014
  1. Ben Dover says:

    Fire them all, Fahy! They ultimately work for you.

    • Al says:

      They work for us, the people!

      • Ben Dover says:

        I am pretty sure they are not working for the people today.

        • 21 BLACKJACK says:

          Don’t think they WORK ( a noun. activity involving physical, or mental effort to achieve a purpose or result ) at all from my observations and understanding of the definition. Plus this all started with the previous govt who kept it on the back burner.

          • jt says:

            Strike notice not required?

            Please make sure they are not being payed.

    • Hmmm says:

      Sounds like OBA are responding quickly by following the proper process. As long as the unions follow the proper process, then Bermuda should get this resolved and be disrupted as little as is possible.

      • Lebron says:

        The basics, the ferry workers are on strike because they think the ferries are not getting properly maintained.

        I’ll say that again. Suddenly the boats aren’t good enough, ALL OUT!!

        Or;

        1 the ferries are losing a fortune, be careful guys, you might end up with a few more days off
        2 this is political. This is PLP strategy, and like the PLP Govt, the people suffer
        3 Chris Furburt. I am going on strike over you, you love trouble, I just wanna get to work
        4 unions? Have I just woken up in 1975?

        • Tolerate says:

          “According to union division head Sinclair Simmons, more than half of the Island’s ferries are currently “inoperable”. Going back to the end of 2012″
          End of 2012?
          Hahaha, hilarious…. “End of 2012?

          • jt says:

            They are on strike because they are not getting overtime. Be honest.

    • Things that make you... says:

      No they do not work for Minister Fahy… where the heck to you people come up with this stuff, seriously.

    • Dragging A Lure says:

      The first paragraph suggest that Minister Crockwell who obtained the injunction also works for Fahy. Working on behalf of Fahy, Crockwell he stood out as a good employee by following Fahy’s directions to a T.

    • Mazumbo says:

      Shut de whole Island down again, then they will listen.

    • Cap says:

      Furbert wants the total costs to run the Millennium ferry, fuel, labor costs,accommodation etc and compare it to passenger volume..thats good to know. Then lets get a true picture of what it costs per passanger on the local ferries, labor, sick days, strike days, health insurance,ferry maintenance! depreciation of the ferries. I think it will amaze us as to the incredible loss per year. The ferries are too big under utilized and not run as a business. Dr Brown did not look at passenger volume here or take into account lack of mechanical expertise in the maintenance department when buying there ferries.
      Answer: Privatize and get something done without all the moaning

  2. Farmer Giles says:

    Proper order too! The Government has an obligation to the Public to ensure essential services are sustained – and they’ve clearly demonstrated they can deliver on that obligation. BIU are attempting to run amok. Good to see BIU have been shown they are also subject to LAW in Bermuda! Well done OBA! Now let calm, cool and mature heads prevail to sort what ever LR issues need to be addressed.

    • Things that make you... says:

      Don’t want to be the one to burst your bubble, but the ferry service isn’t an essential service- public transportation is not and never has been an essential service on the Island. Some deem it as such, but really??

      • PBanks says:

        I don’t think anyone’s yet dared to equate public transportation with essential services like fire service or ambulances, but it’s at least a service that without its presence, has a serious negative impact to a portion of the population, particularly seniors and or those without the funds to afford personal transportation, and should be considered as such by TPTB.

  3. Mazumbo says:

    Shut de whole Island down again, that’s de only way they listen.

    • AbsolutelyINSANE says:

      Idiot

    • Hmmm says:

      who will listen?

    • Steve Davis says:

      Yes that is what Mugabe would do!

    • first one says:

      I totally agree. The island has suffered cardiac arrest and we need to shock the system . People are sick a tired of the lies and betrayal and the childish people that are running the country. The focus is on the wrong things and we need a paradigm shift. BIG TIME!!!!! We the people need to solidify and make changes for the betterment becauseI know Bermuda I Another World. Should be are anthem.

  4. me says:

    ne’re bend naw bow—-get it correct Minister Fahy works for us!they work also on behalf of the people of Bermuda, Mr. Fahy may not get in office next election but the workers will still be there!

    • AbsolutelyINSANE says:

      Unfortunately… You must be a BIU member? Based on your attempt at the english language?

  5. Triangle Drifter says:

    There are more than enough out of work licensed skippers & crews out there right now. Even better, most of these people know a thing or two about marine engines. They are not Gods of the wheelhouse who do nothing but run the boat. “Not my job” is not in their vocabulary.

    • Jonah says:

      And then the fight started.

    • more than enough says:

      that is most likely why fahy removed visa regulations, got some foreigners lined up for the jobs already. maybe if crockwell wouldn’t have said ‘not my job’ and met with these people, this could have been dealt with differently. he’s too busy dealing with the gambling/tourism
      gig. bet if bill, or landow wanted to see him he would show.
      no respect for the people.

  6. Unbelievebale says:

    Man, the hate is on for this Govt.

    • Hmmm says:

      I don’t read hate for this Govt. You are making it up .

    • Haters says:

      They brought it on themselves.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      No, the frustration is on seeing Bermuda destroy itself everyday. Jobs have been struck into non existense. Going back to 1981 how many places have closed up? How many jobs have been lost?

      Our competitors are loving it.

      • more than enough says:

        by the hands of elected officials bermuda is being destroyed.

        • Hmmm says:

          Hardly…these problems existed in 2010 from another article.

  7. Suzie Quattro says:

    As soon as they are back to work, I hope Fahy sits down with Furbert to try to address their concerns.

  8. RayMan says:

    Zip your month Ben Dover, we as workers have our rights. But you as the public don’t understand of what happens behind the scenes

    • PBanks says:

      I think the public would side and support the BIU’s workers more often if they’d follow the proper protocols more, instead of downing tools without notice.

      The Fairmont situation is a great example, and on the face of things here, this with M&P could also qualify. If the public has the facts (as well as, if needed, the requisite notice of industrial action) beforehand, you may find additional allies in your battles for more fair work environments.

      Instead, you have the workers in one corner, the employers in another corner, and the public (usually public transport users including seniors and the poor) feeling shafted by everybody.

    • GHOST says:

      do your rights require you to actually work? everyone has rights, we only hear from you lot what goes on behind the scenes and I will guarantee those will be ONE sided and biased.

  9. AbsolutelyINSANE says:

    No… the hate is on for the idiotic BIU and its dumb dumb members that think they run this island… I agree with the lady that was fired (sadly) during their last idiotic action and lazy over grown bums marching Front Street… THey should all be fired or go back to work… idiots…. GO OBA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The PLP and BIU are KILLING this place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Jus' Askin' says:

    Using the law, instead of sorting the problem ;-)
    A lot of ‘Mitch Moves’ by this government.
    The issue was mentioned weeks and years ago.

    • Sad says:

      Have they issued a strike notice as mandated by the CBA? Wasn’t that their beef with HP the other week?

      Do as I say not as I do.

      Now before you going on with one if your usual hae filled rants please advise as to why this Union feels it can freely break CBA clauses but strike when it happens to them? That’s a Mitch and blindingly hypocritical move. Now rant on:)

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        No rant just a question
        WHY NOT JUST SORT THE ISSUES? :-D

        • Redmen says:

          I agree the OBA needs to sort the issues as they are th Govt, funny though the PLP caused many of them and had two years or so to Sort it Out but didn’t hmm …

          • Jus' Askin' says:

            We can spend the next 3 plus years saying “….well PLP did this and PLP didn’t do that….” or we can see get on with the issues. Going to the courts, before having a meeting with the parties involved, is a ‘Mitch Move’.
            The pressure is on OBA not PLP ;-)

  11. Joonya says:

    About time weve seen your b*lls. We cannot allow the anti-forward thinking PLP and BIU continue to hold MY island ranson and disrupt our lives.
    Cant wait to see the video footage of Furbert arking and misfiring all over de place..

  12. Bermuda boy says:

    Mazumbo you make me sick, you are a vile person. One of these days when those lazy people go on strike, the govt should hold out for as long as it takes, weeks if necessary, to prove that the BIU isn’t above the law.

    • terry says:

      Read posts on most sites with similar opinions and thoughts and presentation.

      Mazumbo is everywhere.
      Connect the dots and see how far one can ‘crawl’ up the hill.
      Shalom.

    • Mazumbo says:

      That’s good I make you sick and in the 1940′s and 50′s ya kind hated Mazumbo just as much and in another 70years it will be the same thing, same s*** different day.
      The Struggle Continues.

  13. Jeremy says:

    Any indication that they are going back? Last time a dispute was sent to arbitration everyone ignored it

  14. No Excuse says:

    So are the ferry’s running or not?

  15. HeyBye says:

    Bermuda made recession going into a full fledge demise of a once prosperous Bermuda.

  16. slobnob says:

    Will we be paying these idiots who strike on a whim’s notice and fail to follow proper protocol? If so, why? Grow a pair OBA and withold their pay for all time not on the job.

    • So quick to comment,,, says:

      Everyone seems so quick to comment and judge. Its all too easy to do so from afar.
      These ‘idiots’ you speak of shouldnt go unpaid for striking if the reasons are there to strike. They may not have followed proper protocol but after being ignored for so long now, its about time they got the attention they need for hopefully getting their issues resolved.

      You also forget that these ‘idiots’ who are represented by the BIU all stand together at times instructed to do so… why take their pay/liveihood away from them… the majority have families relying on them.

      People need to listen to these guys and educate themselves on the reasons behind this strike. I am not a M&P employee, I catch the ferry every day and had a long conversation with one of the workers last night and support them…. so what If i couldnt catch the ferry this morning, I simply woke up earlier and caught the bus into work.

      Its sooooo easy to sit and comment when you arent faced with constant issues and lies everyday at work. Take a minute to talk to someone who is involved at a real level and try to understand where they are coming from.

      • slobnob says:

        HP didn’t follow “proper protocol” and the BIU went on strike in protest. Now the BIU aren’t following “proper protocol” (they never do btw) and you/they expect us to continue to pay them? They are idiots because they can’t see the blatant hypocrisy of their actions. They waited years to do this and they couldn’t wait the additional 21 days that is required after giving notice? They are attempting to make political statements pure and simple. We (you, me, my children, my parents, aunts, uncles, friends, cousins, etc.) forgave their duty to pay us millions due from the Berkely bond on the assurance none of this would happen anymore. And of course they didn’t change their ways. So why should we continue to allow unions to fight for worker’s rights when they so blatantly disregard the rights of the land we all call home?

        • So quick to comment,,, says:

          I understand where you are coming from… but there is more to this picture.
          M&P tried to takes their issues to the table properly and havent heard a response, plus they had a scheduled meeting yesterday to ensure that today didnt happen but the people/person needed to attend the meeting and help resolve these issues decided not to attend leaving everyone frustrated.

          I am against the BIU taking avantage of the system and get frustrated too but this time they need answers and rather now while the public schools are out than in the middle of the tourist season. The M&P guys are fighting against a failing fleet that needs fixing now and needs the funds to be injected into the correct areas…. not “renting” another ferry and paying foreign captains to both work and live here for far more than it would cost to put the TLC into the maintance that is needed on the or part of fleet we have.

      • Argosy says:

        ….the buses will be out soon, like last time!

  17. terry says:

    Where you live Slobnob.
    Ukraine?
    Very inciting.

  18. No Excuse says:

    Bernews do you know if the ferry’s are running?

  19. more than enough says:

    anything short of a strike?
    well, strike.
    withdraw labor, show them what it takes to run things, labor.
    i think this might be one of the areas they are planning to privatize first. the millenium is still here i think, and apparently the staff is being housed here too. i thought t hat ferry was only supposed to be here for one season.
    the oba are up to something. i can’t believe that they are totally ignoring m&p with this new season approaching.

  20. Toodle-oo says:

    Oh it makes such a difference when one is enlightened by the truth .

    Yesterday someone (biu/plp lackey) tried to make this out as an issue that is only 12 months old in another attempt to drag/place blame on the current government and create further destabilization.

    The truth is as follows .

    In the winter of 2009/2010 I had a conversation with a M&P worker who happened to be neither a maintenance person or management , lets say though that he did have daily ‘hands on’ experience with the ferries and tugs.

    He said that there were no parts available to do maintenance as needed on the fleet because there was no money. The government was BROKE ! Remember ? Winter of 2009/2010
    His words , the fleet was becoming unserviceable with each passing day .
    There was no money ! And it was a well kept secret .

    So , this is NOT a one year old issue. As usual blame needs to be put where it should be .

    But , some people are happy to overlook the truth as long as it makes the OBA look bad .

    • So quick to comment,,, says:

      I completely agree… this is a result of years of problems and no-one stepping in to listen and resolve issues when they first came about.

      There has to be some sort of accountability from the people that dictate money allocation, make decisions and constantly make the day-to-day employees work without a working fleet and face the frustrations of the public when ferries have to be pulled from routes with no notice due to “band aid” fixes failing.

      There is a bigger picture to this than them not following protocol and going on strike today, this is the results of years of issues and absolutely nothing to do with making the current government looks bad, after all the prvious government did nothing too.

    • more than enough says:

      so once the blame is ‘put where it should be’ then what?
      oh enlightened one?

    • Unbelievebale says:

      Exactly. There are so many problems within Government that stem back to the PLP administration that it’s quite difficult for the OBA to also fix. And rightly, those problems now belong to the OBA but if they could not be fixed then how could they be fixed now if the same conditions still exist?
      Even in 2012, the ferries were falling apart but now it’s the OBA’s fault. Some on the PLP side are still angry for losing the election when they need to be angry at themselves for letting the PLP govt let things slide.
      People are just being ridiculous.

      • So quick to comment,,, says:

        This has nothing to do with putting blame on the government speak to the guys and they will tell you these issues have steamed from past governments, maybe they are sick I being promised that things will be reviewed and sorted and then nothing ever happening.

        This is about people being held accountable for their actions and making people aware of just how much government money is being thrown away… Instead of being put into resourceful projects. At least if people are made aware then hopefully it won’t continue to happen to the extent it is now as the chances we can ever have a government sector ran without corruption is slim to non!!

        • more than enough says:

          i am sure the travel budget for the last year of gallivanting around the globe could have covered the repairs. or possibly the $30 mil given to establish a private company. shouldn’t this concern the bta? after all we are talking about the vessels set to carry droves of tourists we will soon see flocking to our shores. they could pitch in here, what do you think pat? as the cheif product and experience development officer do you not agree, that this is indeed part of our product, and therefore, an integral part of the tourist experience? got some spare change?
          it should be in all of our interest to protect this important part of our transportation and tourism effort.
          and it should be a priority for the minister of transport/tourism.

  21. get a life says:

    FIRE THEM ALL PLENTY OF PEOPLE LOOKING FOR JOBS.

  22. start swimming says:

    Soooooo, when do they start running again?

  23. Cardine Alice says:

    Turks & Caicos….

  24. Looking in says:

    Now can they go back to work, I mean playing cards?

  25. more than enough says:

    where’s second banana on this?
    flying around on the peoples behalf again?
    he vanished during the last labor dispute, deja vu!
    this has nothing to do with his previous personal slip ups, therefore he should be able to come out of ‘quarantine’ and speak about real jobs with real bermudians. no paperwork required.

  26. Triangle Drifter says:

    The BIU actually deserve just a little sympathy on this one. Too bad that they destroy it by grossly over reacting to a long festering issue. As pointed out by an earlier poster the lack of maintenance problem stems way back to PLP days. The OBA has been left to clean up the pile of dung left behind.

    The BIU says, among other things, that there is little money for maintenance. Well, where did that go? How efficient are the maintenance people anyway? Go to Dockyard most any time of day & they are seen sitting around doing nothing. What did the Director & management at M&P try to do about it?

    Take the money spent on running the ferries & maintaining M&P boats & privatise it. See how few meetings will need to be attended. See how pleasant crews can be. See how sober skippers can be.

  27. Tricks Are For Kids says:

    Any update as of yet? …..will ferries be running in the am?

  28. Bull in a hurry says:

    Mr. Furbert you claim the injunction is premature. The BIU is the party acting premature in this case, maybe if you gave the mandatory strike notice you might find that all the parties could find their way around the negotiating table instead of inconveniencing the public at the drop of a hat. You give the minister seeking an injunction as the reason to get up from the table but how about the BIU pulling the labour off the job and expecting the minister to negotiate! Last week you were quite a fan of the CBA but this week you act as if there is no such thing. Giving the proper strike notice and forcing everybody around the table really wouldn’t serve the BIU/PLP’s real agenda would it? This is a classic case of why many have a hard time to be sympathetic to the BIU.

  29. altoids says:

    Doesn’t make a jot of difference what Government does – PLP/BIU are determined to bring Bermuda to its knees. Shame on you.

    My working conditions are awful. My colleagues and I make the best of it as we know we are lucky to have jobs, and we know Government has a huge legacy to sort out. What we don’t do is deliberately make things worse.

    Furbert – you should be ashamed of yourself. You are a disgrace to Bermuda.

  30. Snapper says:

    Fire them all! What an embarrassment to this island.