Labour Act Will Not Be Debated At This Time

March 7, 2014

[Updated] At a press conference today [Mar 7], Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy — who was joined by BIU President Chris Furbert — announced that the Labour Relations Act 1975 will not be debated at this time.

This delays immediate action on the 21-day strike notice proposal, however the Minister said it will stay on the Order Papers with the intent to be debated at a later time.

Both the Minister and BIU President said that the two sides will have discussions about the proposal and labour matters in general.

Furbert Cannonier Fahy Mar 14

The Government recently announced a proposal to amend the Labour Relations Act 1975 to make public transportation [ferries and buses] as an essential service, which would then require them to give a 21 day strike notice.

The proposal was not well received by the Union, with staff from the Department of Public Transportation and Marine & Ports marching on the House of Assembly on Wednesday to express their displeasure.

Update 2.38pm: Minister Fahy said, “You will be aware that today the House was set to debate the Labour Relations Amendment Act 2014. Government has decided to carry the paper over, however it will remain on the Order Paper.

“I can confirm that yesterday, the Premier, myself and other Ministers met with Mr. Furbert and BIU representatives to address matters of concern. We welcomed the opportunity to have the meeting and I can honestly say that it was a very frank, candid and beneficial discussion for both sides.

“In the spirit of collaboration, we are committed to sitting down and resuming our dialogue to resolve the outstanding labour concerns relating to various Government Departments.”

Mr. Furbert said, “The dialogue we had yesterday was very fruitful. We are concerned about a number of issues and in going forward we want to ensure that there is proper dialogue. The BIU is pleased that the Minister has decided to carry the bill over with the understanding that we will sit down and have the proper dialogue that is necessary.”

The Minister pointed out that later this afternoon there will be Tripartite Economic Committee meeting with all the stakeholders, and representatives of the unions, including Mr. Furbert, will be in attendance.

Also – per the comments – another more cheerful photo of the three gentlemen, is below!

Furbert Cannonier Fahy 2014 2

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  1. Roban: Debate Pushback A “Victory for Labour” | | March 7, 2014
  1. Unbelievable says:

    This also feels abrupt but I guess grown ups can talk sensibly.

    • Speak Truth says:

      Mr Fubert keep standing strong for the Working man of this country. Stand and fight for Equal Rights of all workers. Any Government knows that it is very important to work in collaboration with Unions for the success of Bermuda going forward. Is it possible the OBA has become aware of this now?

      • Umm.... says:

        Or how about the union not using strikes as the only means to negotiate. Public transport should absolutely be considered an essential service. It is essential for the thousands who use it daily to commute.

        Too many times transport has halted during the summer. They do this because they know how damaging it is to our tourism product. To me, that type of action is not what’s in Bermuda’s best interest. How many stranded visitors will not return or tell others about their bad experience.

        Having to give 21 days notice does not hinder the union’s ability to negotiate. If anything, it shows good faith on their part. Bermuda’s economic issues are too big for just the union’s interests to be considered. The government needs to do what’s best for all Bermudians and those who do business here (ie. tourists).

        • BETTTY TRUMP says:

          WELL, it does look like Government may have just come to realize that working with the Unions in Bermuda is key towards the development of effective labour relationships. Or is this merely a show piece and the UBPoba will fall back on their words later on.

          The reality is regardless of a strike called now or 21 days workers only resort to such actions as last resort. Often this follows after months, and months of attempting to get management/government around the day. NO worker enjoys having to take the step of a strike, but workers also want to know that at least their concerns are addressed and taken seriously.

          Why some cry about the transportation stoppages, I hope the same level of crying is taking place to encourage Management/government to address ongoing concerns of the workers. There are some issues that have been going on now for more than 2 years. The quicker they are addressed, this will prevent such actions.

          “Pictures tell is worth a thousand words”…WHICH words are the government attempting to TELL at this time is still an unknown FACT. Time will really tell us if this is “REAL CONSULATION and COLLABORATION,” or just to mis-lead the people of Bermuda. I hope it is serious effort from the government.

          • Derek A. G. Jones says:

            Betty Trump, working with the unions is critical no matter who is the government. As was pointed out by a friend of mine tonight it seems odd that the union workers wouldn’t want to be considered an essential service. To put it simply, an essential job is job protection. So unless there is a political agenda being promoted by the union leaders it makes little sense that a union worker wouldn’t want to have that protection.

            Colloboration is real. There may well still be a need to keep union representation in Bermuda but the representation needs to make sure they are pertinent, viable and valid in how they represent their members. Collaboration isn’t just between two adversaries, it is also between management and employees which is effectively what a Union is.

        • senlaw says:

          If the BIU’s gonna keep harking back to the ILO agreement, then they should stick to the entire guideline and not just cherry-pick the bits they like….

          • Martin Chivers says:

            This is such BS. Crush the BIU Fahy, they have this country to ransom and that is not right. Grow a pair.

    • Mazumbo says:

      PEOPLE POWER!!!!!!!!!!
      Lovin it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. A. Little says:

    ….. ‘a picture says a thousand words’, I’m sorry, I just bad to laugh, thanks Bernews!

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      But what WORDS are the Government attempting to tell this time is still an unknown FACT.

      Time will really tell us if this is “REAL CONSULATION and COLLABORATION,” or it just a political twist to mis-lead the people of Bermuda, as a way to win back their confidence. I hope it is serious effort from the government.

  3. fox_gap_2 says:

    honestly….this is sucha great picture to play “CAPTION THIS” with…..hahahah let the GAMES BEGIN!!!

    ……….Grumpy cats face is so classic in this pic!!!! (Grumpy cat is the far left incase you dont know who grumpycat is….)

    • Maven says:

      Lol yea “grumpy cat” knows he working with the evil doers. No one likes making deals with the devil, unless you on his team..

    • Mazumbo says:

      Grumpy cat??????????
      More like an ANGRY LION!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. AgeBees says:

    this is great…perhaps it was always a ploy by the government to not use this heavy hammer (the change to the Act) but to force union to discuss outstanding issues!

    • LongBayTrading says:

      @ AgeBees

      …………yeah right! and pigs will fly as well……….

  5. Unbelievable says:

    Two things jumped out at me:

    Mr Furbert said,”It doesn’t matter whether it’s the UBP Govt, the PLP Govt or the OBA….”


    And the other thing….Govt workers will not be paid for the time off while they were striking. I don’t see Mr. Furbert saying that the BIU is stepping in to help out with those lost wages.

    • inna says:

      With what money??

      • We the people says:

        cuz we never see it or what gets done with it so yeah, wat money. makes you wonder why you even paying the dam fee

        • Unbelievable says:

          You know…just as much as unionised workers should demand their rights (albeit without random wildcat strikes), I think these same union members should be demanding accountability and transparency as to how their union dues are being spent. And on who.

    • frank says:

      they can take it from phc

  6. watching says:

    Just look at the pic. Furbert looks suspicious, Cannonier was just told to smile (as usual) and Fahy looks like he would rather be elsewhere.

  7. Coffee says:

    Chris Furbert alone can outwit and out maneuver those two! The last thing this administration could afford is more egg on their collective faces .

    • Cow Polly says:

      Don’t think it was Chris Furbert but Minister Fahy who did the out maneuvering……… if the BIU doesn’t behave itself and stick to the rules then the proposed amendment to the Labour Relations Act will be debated and passed into Law. And who will be the first to be arrested and fined under the new law when the next wildcat strike occurs? Nope Mr Fahy has got Mr Furbert by the short and curlies………. yippee!!!!!!

  8. Bermuda Boy says:

    I like this side of Chris Furbert!!!

  9. Truth is killin' me... says:

    “Ok…who farted!?”

  10. nuffin but the truth says:

    FAKE as hell…all posing for the camera…

  11. We the people says:

    What i got when i look at this picture is that Mr. Furbert seems suspicious and that the premier\s string is being pulled to smile and the minister would rather be dealing with something else. then i watched the video. that tells me something fishy is going on/. how can you postpone a debate yet still talk about with each other. what sense does that make. if the BIU went along with their strike then the gov would have to give in. but no. people don’t want to sacrifice a little for a lot, and its understandable to an extent. the facts remain…..

  12. Bermudian who has had ENOUGH!!! says:

    This is soooooooooooo disappointing. When, oh when, is ANY BDA GOVT going to stand up, and more importantly, STAY STANDING UP, to the bullies and thugs at the BIU and by extension, the PLP (paid (by us) Members of the Govt. Loyal Opposition) who JOINED IN SUCH SHAMEFUL BEHAVIOUR with such foul language and total untruths and disgusting speeches.

    The BIU/PLP and their thugs behavour and speeches at Parliament on Wednesday was

    SHAMEFUL….SHAMEFUL, …..SHAMEFUL…. and shocking

    They are disrespectful to the ELECTED GOVERNMENT of the day
    They are disrespectful to the people of Bermuda
    They are disrespectful to the ELECTORATE of Bermuda
    They are disrespectful of the law
    They are disrespectful to any CBA, employment agreement or contracts of employment
    They are disrespectful to their own employers (us the taxpayer), their jobs and responsibilities
    They are disrespectful to the young people of this Island by setting such an absymal example
    They are disrespectful to the human race for such deciteful, wilful and devious behavour (main and ONLY aim to get rid of the elected OBA Govt.)

    They deserve NO respect, and certainly no handshake.


    shame, shame, shame.

    I am ready to march because enough is enough and I do not want to live like this anymore and I do not want my life overshadowed by the bullies and thugs of the PLP and BIU and their totally ignorant lies and more lies and constant ridiculous speeches and useless and pointless questions that go on and on and on (for 15mths now), with no end in sight.

    OBA you are not much better. Stop pandering to these fools and playing like school yard children.

    You are ALL PAID to do a job.
    Do it.
    Or get out of the way for someone who will.

    • Dragging A Lure says:

      Whew!!! A sigh of relief, got that off your chest. Now go home and cry to mama.

    • Hmmmmm says:

      I bet you think the people rioting in Ukraine were freedom fighters. But when my people do it, they have to be polite and ask nicely. Grow the hell up.

      • Really? says:

        And exactly what freedoms aren’t being granted by requesting 3 weeks notice prior to industrial action? This does not take away workers freedoms. You grow the hell up and perhaps then you will begin to understand the implications this has on your country.

  13. ganja mon says:

    And this is why they will keep striking because they always get what they want after doing so….

    OBA grow a pair and get down to business and crack down on these idiots that dont want to work!!

    • Coffee says:

      Here goes another loser for all the world to see . It’s not your fault , but , you must take responsiblity for being a pot head .

  14. Cow Polly says:

    LOL! An agreement to forgive a loan couldn’t bring the BIU to order but a threat to change the law sure can! I think it matters a great deal whether its the UBP, PLP or the OBA

  15. Toodle-oo says:

    So Min. Fahy , did you ask them why they hadn’t stopped the wildcat strikes since the forgiveness of the Berkeley performance bond ?

    Did you tell him that in the event of wildcat walkouts Gov’t would not be paying workers for the lost time ?

    In another few weeks ( if that) there will be another union walkout , no doubt .
    Will everyone be smiling and talking about collaboration and ending of rifts then ?

    • Coffee says:

      This is for all who keep harping on about Berkeley . When Sealand Construction Company got into the sample financial predicament building Westgate Correctional Facility in 1993 and the UBP bailed them out AND GAVE THEM in ecxcess of $2 million as a thank you parting gift , the BIU never forgot that and used that precedent as leverage for the Berkeley mess up .
      So as is in the past , so in the now it’s usually the perceived business party that always sets the example and IF the labor party dare copy , than you would expect a violent pushback , as demonstrated in the posts above and below .

      • jt says:

        You cannot equate the two situations. They are not the same. Surely you see that.

  16. Argosy says:

    Realistically, did anyone expect any other outcome?

    It’s been the same since 1981 and will continue into the future.

    One could correctly say: “Until the end of the line”.

  17. nuffin but the truth says:

    when a child is sexually molested because there is no transport or an older lady is robbed because there is no transport,I bet these 3 guys wont be smiling then!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      A girl was murdered because there was no transport. Have there been any changes?

  18. Archie says:

    No balls ………….

  19. Lennie says:

    The first picture reminds me of a photo from 1993 where President Clinton brokered a peace deal between Rabin and Arafat in the Middle East and had to virtually push them together to shake hands. I hope this is the start of getting the labour unrest settled here in Bermuda. No one wins when we are fighting, lets all work it out and move forward together.

  20. larry says:

    d three stooges….

  21. Lone Wolf says:

    Wow, Fahy! You chickened out like THAT?

    Now you’re a JOKE too bro ….

    No backbone

  22. Carls Berg says:

    need to get a tarp and some stakes and put a lid on that circus

  23. HAHA says:

    Thank you for that pic. After a day of dealing with real problems, that still cracks me up. Keep up the good work………………..nobody

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

    i’m quite sure you are familiar with the saying “give them enough rope and they will hang themselves”…

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Like in a couple of weeks when the BIU pulls another wildcat strike for very little reason.

      I hope that then the rug will get pulled from underneath them. The labour legislation gets zipped through, the bond gets called & BIU assets get held in escrow till the bond is paid up.

      It is called being held to an agreement.