Amendment Proposed For Labour Relations Act

March 4, 2014

A proposed change to Bermuda’s Labour Relations Act 1975 that would reclassify public transport as an essential service was tabled in the House of Assembly on February 28.

The amendment adds public transportation to the list of essential services, and widens the scope which relates to port and dock services, by removing the words “not connected with cruise ships”.

BIU President Chris Furbert is expected to address the issue at a press conference later today.

The proposed changes in the Labour Relations Amendment Act 2014 follow below [PDF here]:

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  1. Video: BIU President On Ferry/Bus Law Proposal | | March 4, 2014
  1. George Somers says:

    About time! Enough of the BIU holding the country to hostage!

    • jonny says:

      rubbish mate, unions are needed. Employers and government would hold this island hostage if there where no unions. look at the bigger picture, what avenue would ppl have if there was no union to speak for them of matters such as unfair practices by employers. Do you really think that government and employers would be fair once the unions are gone.

      • Former Union Member says:

        I think the reasons you list above were originally correct. Then time passed and the Union got too comfortable and forgot who they really represent. There are any number of good employers who treat their staff fairly….and don’t require the threat of a local union to do so. It is called an open market.

        • Triangle Drifter says:

          Pretty simple really, just as one does not shop where one is not treated fairly a business with unfair treatment of employees will get to be known quickly & people will only seek employment there as a last resort.

          More than likely that business will get the unwanted employees from the better companies which will demand good service from employees in return for that good treatment.

      • Trumps says:

        I agree Unions, when managed correctly service are needed. We have several in Bermuda that are effective and professional. Then there is the BIU which uses bully tactics to get what they want, when they want, even at the expense of the people of Bermuda.

        Their last second strikes have left children, seniors and tourists stranded and for what valid reason.

        Hmmmm, here are some recent ones.

        To protect Ferry Boat Captain that rammed a Ferry while under the influence damaging property and injuring people.

        To protect a Bus Driver that was under the influence, another that abused and assaulted a member of the public.

        To protect a Bus driver that refused to take a test after being involved in an accident.

        To have last minute meetings, that couldn’t apparently be held at any other time.

        These type of selfish acts are those that make the public resentful of the BIU.

        There are many effective and professionally run unions on this island and all over the world. Why is it that they can conduct business and meet with employers without drama! Simple, they are professional and not on power trips like Bro Chris!

    • George Somers says:

      should have read…………’We’ve had enough already of the BIU holding the country hostage/to ransom’!

  2. dafaq says:

    BIU boys will not be happy….. they going to squeeze in one more wildcat strike before it comes to law.

  3. O'Brien says:

    That’s great, and long overdue, but unless the Government has the courage to enforce the law it will be just a token measure. And I’m not optimistic about that because the Labour Relations Act is already flouted routinely. For instance, secondary strikes (e.g bus drivers downing tools because of a dispute with management…at a HOTEL) are supposed to be illegal, yet they are one the BIU’s signature moves.

    So go ahead and make public transport an essential services. Most Bermudians will support you. But next time the BIU calls an impromptu ‘meeting’ at lunchtime — and god knows you wont have long to wait for that — will any of the strikers be arrested? Will the BIU be fined? I don’t have a big picture of it myself.

  4. Hmmm says:

    Public transport is an essential service for this country. So many familes rely on it.

    This is good news .

  5. Toodle-oo says:

    According to reports elsewhere only a handful of M&P workers (Pilots and some dock and tug operators) and Fire Services are deemed ‘essential services’. and are therefor the only people who have to give 21 days advance notice of a strike.

    If this is truly the case then we’ve been erroneously making a lot of noise about unannounced BIU walkouts for a long time .

    I wish someone would have clarified this long ago .

    • PBanks says:

      Downing tools and disrupting services without notice, whether illegal by the law or not, still inconveniences and frustrates the public.

      If the organisations involved gave proper notice before going on strike, they’d get more public support if they’re “in the right”.

      • Mazumbo says:

        I don’t know how long you’ve been living on planet earth but in every country when they go on strike they do it at a whim and management had ample time to deal with the outstanding issues and complaints and the longer they try to draw them out and disrespect the rights of the worker then strike is the last resort, and its unfortunate with the public but in war even the innocent suffer sometimes.

        • Arthur Scargill says:

          Union workers in every country strike on a whim?
          No they do not!

          As a firm believer in unions, I believe it is vital that the union maintains public support and issues required notice.

          Unions get busted when the public sympathy is lost. CF is skating on thin ice and it is the members who will suffer.

          Why would OBA play nice with the BIU when they know they will get very few votes from them?

        • Trumps says:

          Why then Mazumbo does the same not happen with so many other unions on the island? Why do we not see the same problems and strikes at other unionized places of business. Is everything just wonderful at everywhere else. Do they have a special way to have meetings with members that the BIU can’t figure out? Do they fight for workers even when they are wrong?? No they support and fight for members when they are being taken advantage of by their employers, and do not support members that take advantage of their employers.

  6. Mazumbo says:

    To all you labor blue color workers who thought P.L.P was not a labor party and voted for O.B.A/ubp that’s what you get.
    Now Management can ride you and you cant do a thing about it.

    • Hmmm says:


      Proper protocols and grievence procedures can be followed. I think the OBA and the BIU have worked very well together to avoid prolonged disruption whilst addressing concerns.

      • Mazumbo says:

        Proper protocols and procedures have been followed all this time by the Union and Management are using the Slave Master mentality so when the people had enough they are the ones that you want to blame, same old Jim Crow tactic, treat people like s*** and when they fight back you want to use the law to justify your wrong.
        Same s*** different era.

        • Mike Hind says:


            • Mike Hind says:

              Nicely done.

              Can’t even defend your actions without lying (as you did earlier), so you just lash out like a child having a tantrum… All the while hiding behind a fake name like a coward.

              Yeah. It’s ME that’s the punk. Right.

    • Kim Smith says:

      Boogie man scare tactics!

    • Trumps says:

      Oh Mazumbo, why do you assume that you have it all figured out the general public is stupid and easily brainwashed…LOL.

      All they are asked to do is give 21 days notice before striking- that is it.

      Think about it – if the BIU decides to strike because something isn’t right – they give a 21 day notice that way the management, government and BIU have three weeks to work it out. Hopefully, the problem is resolved within 21 days without a strike and nobody is inconvenienced. What the F is wrong with that.

      Explain – why this is such a BAD idea please.

  7. North rock says:

    Chris will just call it something else. BIU will be holding golf tournaments that the members will be obliged to compete in during working hours….because thats when they decide on the major issues of the day…

  8. Terry says:

    I am sure they will.
    Then pull a “Putin”.

  9. bluebird says:

    CYPRUS tis an ISLAND in the MED just like Bermuda.
    They have to AGREE to PRIVITIZATION to get a BAIL OUT.he! he! he! he!
    The Unions as in Bermuda are killing the economy.

  10. turtle says:


  11. js says:

    the OBA is continuing an age old Bermudian problem

    an inability or unwillingness to communicate effectively with black people

    the strikes albeit a nuisance are a safety valve which lets off steam

    plug up the safety valve and KABOOM

    • Steve Davis says:

      Are the BIU members not getting the message? Assuming your assumption that all black people are BIU members although I know that is not the case. So what you have said is racial profiling.

      BIU members current behavior is similar to a pack of lemmings accept they risk taking all of Bermuda with them!

      There is not enough money to pay Government workers. Their current wages are being borrowed by the people of Bermuda to pay them.

      We need investment in the Island and essential services operating regularly and efficiently are paramount to that investment being encouraged.

      It is unethical to hold the nation hostage over a petty and small matter that could be settled in more diplomatic ways.

      What more communication do they want before the country is ruined and resembles Hati? Will they listen then?

  12. Bermuda Boy says:

    Please don’t make any changes to the law unless you are going to go all the way with enforcing that law. We all know before this starts, the Govt will back down all the time to save Bermuda. Get real and grow some ba$$s.

  13. DarkSideofTheMoon says:

    So now the government is using legislation to disregard the agreement they signed with the Union…. What’s next?

    • Benny Trump says:

      Just like the union using legislation to disregard the agreement they had with the plpbiu re: one very expensive berkely bond.

  14. nuffin but the truth says:

    the days of the biu are nearly over,soon to be defunct and extinct like the failed and useless plp.

    • Mazumbo says:

      Just what white people in Bermuda have been praying for.

      • Mike Hind says:


        • Coffee says:

          He is Realist ! A realist I say !!!

          • Mazumbo says:

            Um used to ya boy me callin that they talk de same way about us in their circles just like de woman on de porch but she verbalized it in public cause she was fellin nice.

            • Mike Hind says:


              You are a truly vile, disgusting individual.

              Coffee, if you’re defending him, I don’t know what to say.

              Do you agree with him that “they” talk the same way about “you”?
              You DO know he’s just making that up and is only saying it because he is trying to vilify “them” based on nothing more than the colour of their skin.

              That’s not being a realist… That is being a racist pig.

              • Coffee says:

                I call it as I see it , and you are quite a strange man Mike Hind , chasing people around Bernews , humping their legs every time they post … Get a freaked life will ya .

        • Impressive says:

          How could that be racist,, It is a antagonistic comment, and judging by the views on this site and the comments made by many bloggers, its seems to be a fair reflection of how many “OBA” members feel. It is a racially charged comment, but I will not call that racist. He didnt attack white people, he stated what he thinks they are feeling about a situation. in my opinion ofcourse

          • Mike Hind says:

            How could “Just what white people in Bermuda have been praying for.” be racist?

            Are you even remotely serious?


      • Trumps says:

        a hole

  15. Family Man says:

    There needs to be an amendment banning ‘meetings’ during working hours. Meet all you want when your shift is over.

  16. Triangle Drifter says:

    The public transport & sanitation is about all Chris has left. Construction is dead. Tourism is almost dead. The hospital has a few.

    What is left?

    Passing new legislation is all fine & dandy but let us see it enforced.

  17. Coffee says:

    The government is treading on very dangerous grounds here . All workers in Bermuda need to be extremely concerned . Now if these services are privatized , will they still be classified as essential services .think carefully ….hmmmm ?

  18. Hellurrrrrrrr says:

    Essential services can and will strike. All this means is that the BIU will have to give 21 days notice before any formal action can take place.

  19. Bermuda Boy says:

    Mazumbo, like always your verbal vomit is distasteful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!