Video: Minister Fahy On Labour Law Proposal

March 5, 2014

Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy and Premier Craig Cannonier held a press conference this afternoon [Mar 5] to discuss the Government’s proposal to amend the Labour Relations Act 1975.

The amendment would make public transportation [ferries and buses] as an essential service, which will then require them to give a 21 day strike notice.

Staff from the Department of Public Transportation and Marine & Ports marched on the House of Assembly today to express their displeasure, with the BIU President and various politicians addressing the crowd.

Speaking today outside the House, BIU President Chris Furbert called the proposal a “form of union busting,” and added that “This is not 1834, we are not going back to slavery, we are not going back on the plantations.”

fahy-statement-1

Minister Fahy said, “The disruption of the public transportation services negatively impacts the Island as most commuters find themselves at the last minute having to make alternative travel arrangements – whether to work, home or school as is the case with our children – until the industrial action is resolved.

“Not only does this cause great inconvenience, but it has an adverse effect on the Bermuda’s economic health as well as our reputation as a premier tourist destination.

“The consequences of such actions are costly to Bermuda with the knock on effect being the loss of fare revenue as well as the opportunity costs – that is, the loss of future visitation, given the word of mouth factor, owing to Bermuda becoming more known for its unreliable public transportation services.

“The lucrative cruise segment which we are making every effort to sustain and expand, relies heavily on the public transportation services to facilitate passenger movement around the Island.

“It is for this very same reason that during the past year of meetings held with the cruise ship executives and other entities wishing to establish business in Bermuda, one of the key concerns that continues to arise is the uncertainty of our labour industry – especially relating to public transportation services.

“Based on our consultation with the Union, and I reiterate there was consultation, it would appear they may be concerned about the implications of passing this legislation that they say could potentially undermine their bargaining power or remove their right to strike.

“I would like to make it again abundantly clear that the Government is not trying to remove the Union’s ability to strike should they not be satisfied with any progress related to industrial disputes.

“On the contrary, the Government is simply looking to require a 21-day notice period prior to the withdrawal of labour.”

Minister Fahy’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon,

As you are already aware the Government has tabled a Bill entitled “Labour Relations Amendment Act 2014”.

The purpose of this Bill is to designate, by inclusion into the First Schedule of the Labour Relations Act 1975, public transportation as an essential service.

For the sake of clarity, I just want to take a moment to reiterate a few of those services that are already considered essential:

  • Electricity
  • Services provided for the protection of the public health and the prevention of disease including the collection, transportation, processing and disposal of trade and domestic refuse and sewage.
  • Hospital and nursing
  • Domestic and industrial gas
  • Port and dock services including pilotage, tug and line boat operation [not connected with cruise ships]
  • Fire
  • Lighthouses
  • Air and Marine Traffic Control
  • The refuelling and maintenance of aircraft to the extent that this is necessary to maintain the essential services.
  • The loading and unloading of mail, medical supplies, foodstuffs, cattle and chicken feed and all supplies needed to maintain any essential service specified herein and the transport of such goods to their proper destination.
  • Transport necessary for the maintenance of any essential service specified herein and the maintenance of such transport.
  • Telephone and overseas telecommunication
  • Meteorological services
  • Airport security services [other than Police service]
  • Ground electronic maintenance services connected with the safety of the Bermuda Airport and aircraft.
  • Airport infrastructure support services, crash, fire and rescue services and air navigation services related to the Bermuda airport.

The latter four were added to the schedule of essential services in 1995.

Ladies and Gentlemen much has been said in certain sectors of our community about the fact that public transportation is not an area that the International Labour Organisation [ILO] lists as an essential service.

I must take this opportunity to make something very clear.

Over time, the supervisory bodies of the ILO have brought greater precision to the concept of essential services in the strict sense of the term for which strike action may be prohibited.

In 1983, the Committee of Experts defined such services as those “the interruption of which would endanger the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population”.

This definition was adopted by the Committee on Freedom of Association shortly afterwards.

Clearly, what is meant by essential services in the strict sense of the term “depends to a large extent on the particular circumstances prevailing in a country”.

Likewise, there can be no doubt that “a non-essential service may become essential if a strike lasts beyond a certain time or extends beyond a certain scope, thus endangering the life, personal safety or health of the whole or part of the population”.

Thus, the Committee has considered to be essential services in the strict sense, where the right to strike may be subject to major restrictions or even prohibitions.

In short the ILO says essential services are those services where strikes are prohibited or are severely restricted.

The only service in Bermuda like that is the Police service which is prohibited from striking.

The Bermuda model of essential services is a hybrid – since Bermuda essential services can still strike but with a 21 day notice.

As I have said before, the disruption of the public transportation services negatively impacts the Island as most commuters find themselves at the last minute having to make alternative travel arrangements – whether to work, home or school as is the case with our children – until the industrial action is resolved.

Not only does this cause great inconvenience, but it has an adverse effect on the Bermuda’s economic health as well as our reputation as a premier tourist destination.

The consequences of such actions are costly to Bermuda with the knock on effect being the loss of fare revenue as well as the opportunity costs – that is, the loss of future visitation, given the word of mouth factor, owing to Bermuda becoming more known for its unreliable public transportation services.

The lucrative cruise segment which we are making every effort to sustain and expand, relies heavily on the public transportation services to facilitate passenger movement around the Island.

It is for this very same reason that during the past year of meetings held with the cruise ship executives and other entities wishing to establish business in Bermuda, one of the key concerns that continues to arise is the uncertainty of our labour industry – especially relating to public transportation services.

Irregular industrial action in this area does in fact represent a serious challenge to the economic well-being of Bermuda. This was in fact recognized by the previous Government who reportedly agreed with the BIU a cooling-off period of 72 hours for all BIU workers prior to taking industrial action.

The Government is anxious to see development and certainty for investors – it will ensure our economic survival. We would like this concern to be a thing of the past by providing assurances that the Government is doing its part to address the same.

Ladies and gentlemen, to ensure that the public has the benefit of the full facts, during recent consultation with the Labour Advisory Council and the BIU, one of the concerns raised by the latter was the fact that the Ministry was not making Public Transportation an Essential Industry as opposed to an Essential Service.

I must re-emphasize that an Essential Industry, as prescribed in the Fourth Schedule of the Labour Relations Act 1975, lists the business of a Hotel as an Essential Industry only.

Public transportation is a service that the Government of Bermuda provides which our residents [including our school children] and visitors alike, come to depend upon as one of the most efficient public transportation services in the world.

So as I have already said, when irregular industrial action occurs, this causes a major disruption to the service which negatively impacts on the efforts the Government is trying to make with respect to growing the economy – which we are now starting to see. It is important to note that Essential Industry disputes do not provide for notice to be given.

Based on our consultation with the Union, and I reiterate there was consultation, it would appear they may be concerned about the implications of passing this legislation that they say could potentially undermine their bargaining power or remove their right to strike.

I would like to make it again abundantly clear that the Government is not trying to remove the Union’s ability to strike should they not be satisfied with any progress related to industrial disputes.

On the contrary, the Government is simply looking to require a 21-day notice period prior to the withdrawal of labour.

And this 21-day notice period represents a “cooling off” period which provides management and the Union an opportunity to resolve their grievances prior to escalating the matter.

This Government believes in the rights of workers. That is a fundamental principle of labour. We also support the ILO committee on Freedom of Association’s view that strike action is a right.

However attached to that right are the following prerequisites:

  • 1. the obligation to give prior notice;
  • 2. the obligation to have recourse to conciliation, mediation and [voluntary] arbitration procedures in industrial disputes as a prior condition to declaring a strike, provided that the proceedings are adequate, impartial and speedy and that the parties concerned can take part at every stage;
  • 3. the obligation to observe a certain quorum and to obtain the agreement of a specified majority;
  • 4. the obligation to take strike decisions by secret ballot;
  • 5. the adoption of measures to comply with safety requirements;
  • 6. and for the prevention of accidents;
  • 7. the establishment of a minimum service in particular cases; and
  • 8. the guarantee of the freedom to work for non-strikers.

There are some who say that this legislation in union busting. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We wholeheartedly believe in protecting the rights of workers, employers and our residents by introducing this Bill.

We must see the end of our school children being stranded by the road side.

We must see the end of employees missing out on badly needed paychecks because they can’t get to work.

We must see the end of tourists trying to thumb rides to town to spend money in our shops.

We must see the end of our seniors waiting for a bus that never comes.

In short, adequate notice is not unreasonable to have. It is logical and sensible. We are continuing the process of updating the Bermuda legislation to more adequately reflect best practice in other jurisdictions.

I give homage to those unionists who worked and continue to work for worker’s rights.

With that said, I must reiterate that there are Collective Bargaining Agreements in place now between unions and employers and government. There is a statutory framework that is too often ignored. The ILO makes it clear that when these frameworks are in place they are there for a reason.

As the Minister responsible for Labour, it is my duty to ensure that those frameworks are followed – this Bill will add to the statutory framework and give economic certainty for all concerned.

Finally ladies and gentlemen, we will continue to collaborate and develop a relationship – Governments and unions do not need to be at odds.

It is my hope that we can see our way through this impasse and get to a place of reconciliation.

This Government is working to make Bermuda work for everyone – to make sure the recovery takes off to grow the jobs and incomes Bermudians sorely need; to put the years of unemployment and decline behind us.

I am happy to take a few questions.

Thank you.

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  1. aqua cadit resurgere says:

    nasty bunch …they don’t realise how lucky they are to have jobs….I say fire all of them…open up some jobs for people who need them…who want them…who would most definately walk or fight their way right through their picket line for them!Hey Chris….you think there arent a few thousand people who wouldn’t jump at the chance for those jobs?!?….if so …your more stupid than you portray!

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      This is going backwards. The Government is failing to listen to the people of Bermuda. It takes the Labour movement backwards by years. This is also an attempt to dictate to the Unions as to how they can protest when striking is often the workers last resort to have Management address an ongoing issue.

      I wish the BIU praise for standing strong and together. I wish that the BPSU and Teachers Union would also grow some balls, as they too will be faced with some difficult challenges in a few days/months time. Standing together is the only way Unions will be able to address a government whom goal seems to be Removal of all Unions.

      Privatization is the way in which the UBPoba will address the removal of Unions. Anyone not aware of this is sleeping. I expected this recent move by the government as Mr. Fahy did not react much to the last Union actions, as he was busy moving towards changing this law. This government makes it difficult for folks to trust, as they operate in a way that lacks TRANSPARENCY.

      The comments from the UBPoba MPS and diehard fans indicated their anti-Union attitudes towards the BIU and Unions in general.

      We will see the backward move in labour relationships by this government and movement towards the UBPoba becoming a ONE Time Government.

      • BETTTY TRUMP says:

        The Reality is there are others ways in which the Union can also take ACTION that will have a bigger impact than a Strike alone. This is something that Government has overlooked. The Workers can employ various strategies that can be put into place during the 21 day strike notice, these things may be more damaging then a strike itself.

        There is always ways to address unfair labour practices, it just takes a little bit of smart planning and strategy. I would suspect that the Union has already likely taken a look at those other options. Workers will continue to stand up for EQUAL RIGHTS AND JUSTICE whenever they need too.

        Always ways to address the needs of Labour. Stand strong and continue to stand together Workers. ALL can be accomplished in various ways.

        Keep moving the Chess Pieces, we are almost there, Stand Strong..some will fall on their swords sooner rather than later..its coming. HOld on….

        • Citizen Banned says:

          By making them ‘essential’ Government will be practically guaranteeing their jobs – but they are obviously too stupid to realize.

        • MAKE MY DAY says:

          What you got in mind??? Riots – Arson – General mayhem??? Just what BDA needs at this point-in-time!!! You leave me almost “speechless” with your nonsensical comment!!

        • Unearthed says:

          From what I gather, Premier Cannonier doesn’t care about workers’ rights. The unions just don’t down tools just for the sake of downing tools. They are striking as an act to plead with the government for a proper resolution.

          The cannonier administration on the other hand doesn’t care about your rights as a worker nor do they care about you as a member of the public. Instead of finding resolution they use policy as a form of coercion which in my opinion shows a complete lack of leadership.

          They are trying to put a permanent band-aid on the issues that are affecting the workplace. Making buses and ferries an essential service when they are not an essential service is unbelievable. I can’t believe Cannonier; he really is letting the public down. It’s a shame.

          • jt says:

            “The unions just don’t down tools just for the sake of downing tools.”

            I think they consistently down tools for reasons that don’t match the severity of their actions. Striking (wild cat strikes) are, more often than not, this union’s first line approach.

            Whether this legislation passes or not the government needs to make sure that pay is docked for time off the job. Let the union pick up the tab for the decisions they make. That is what they collect dues for, isn’t it?

      • Kangoocar says:

        @kevin, never under estimate the level of stupidity the biu/plp can go!!! If you do, you will be disappointed every time!!! We need to stand strong and do everything we can to help all Bermudians even those that are to ignorant to know any better!!!!

        • Simon Richards says:

          Come in BIU, your time is up. You have no relevance any more.

          Fahy 5 v 0 Furbert

      • Inside Track says:

        Do you think that if PLP was to become the Government that they will change this law if implemented? Do you think PLP would be silly enough to say, go ahead down tools whenever you wish without notice? Don’t think so, they’ll leave it alone.

        • In fact says:

          The PLP negotiated a deal that let the BIU off the hook for the Berkeley bond – that deal included a promise from the BIU to provide 21 days notice of a strike so I can’t see what Chris is upset about. After all, the BIU has already agreed to this.

          Otherwise, can we have our $14 million?

    • Speak Truth says:

      @aqua cadit resurge

      Was it you I heard shouting disrespecful comments over the balcony. Your comment reeps of a low disregard for folks whom are standing up for their Rights. Those whom ticked like seem to wear the same Anti Union hat and disregard for the hard working sector within our population.

      It is comments from folks like you that further divide Bermuda. You do nothing to bring us together and one country, or one people. You need to hang your head in Shame!

  2. Can anyone help? says:

    If the bus/ferry service is now going to be treated as an ‘essential service’, and 21 days notice is required before a strike can take place, does this mean that a ferry or bus driver who is aggrieved in the workplace can no longer can down their tools?

    If this simply means that they must wait 21 days before they can down their tools, won’t the tourists still be affected, after 21 days has passed? If this is true, how is this not an attempt to bust the unions?

    I understand the argument that children and seniors can be impacted by bus/ferry strikes; however, a tourist arriving after 21 days has passed would not have any warning when they get here unless they read our news in advance.

    I appreciate Bermuda is a tourist destination but so is London and they seem to have tube strikes frequently.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Hopefully, 21 days is enough time to find a solution to the problem, no?

      Striking should never be the goal, it should be the incentive to force management to fix the problem… shouldn’t it?

      Maybe this is the problem.

      Maybe we’ve lost sight of the strength of the threat of a strike and are now just reliant on doing it.
      I say “we”, as I think this is a problem on both sides.

    • ant si says:

      and Chris said he received a letter from UK stating that they are trying to do the same thing. they are trying to make transportation and essential service as well.

      • BETTTY TRUMP says:

        “Strike Actions will still take place.” Laws are the only form of action a government can take, but People say how it will happen”…this is the end is NO WIN for the Government.

        Workers will still down tools, regardless of change of law. Often when Workers believe an issue is very important they will make the ultimate sacrifice even if it means lost of money for the day. Workers will stand strong to make and to be heard by the government. The 21 days does nothing.

        Do not overlook the key facts:

        1. That Issues within government do not start suddenly, often these issues have been going on for months, but seldom are they addressed Quickly by Management/government.

        2. Workers only resort to the last from of actions such a strike after they have exhausted all their options. The strike notice will be submitted early by unions, but the actions will continue. So this does little if nothing to prevent a Strike, the Unions just will time it better.

        Government can change laws, but they can not control the actions of people. People will enforce what they deem should take place and happen.

        An attempt to do away with Unions will be another one of the biggest downfalls of this UBPoba government. But, this move will be the Chess piece that was necessary to win the final end game….

    • Mike Hind says:

      Sorry for the double post…

      Shouldn’t it be:

      “You’ve gotta fix this or we’re going to strike”

      rather than

      “This is messed up, so we’re striking.”?

      I don’t think anyone disagrees that a sudden wildcat strike is a pain in the a** for innocent people who are just trying to get on with their lives, their jobs and/or their vacations. Strikes, in and of themselves, are a bad thing. This is why they’re so effective.

      Shouldn’t we all be trying to find a solution where we can keep the effectiveness of the strike, without having to actually HAVE a strike?
      Shouldn’t it be a deterrent rather than a punishment?

      And isn’t three weeks enough time for either side to figure out a solution?

      • We the People!! (1st) says:

        I get the gist of what you are saying and I understand some of the valid questions you raise. Here are my two cents.

        Strikes may be inconvenient and they may be frustrating because of its disruptive consequences but so is the exercise of other human rights.

        International treaties such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) and others implies that the right to strike, is a human right. Most international laws allow workers and their unions to take solidarity and sympathy action to help fellow workers in dispute. It is, after all, one of the purposes of joining a union. Unions are very important for the protection of human rights against big business.

        I am afraid at times we are attacking the workers’ rights instead of the bully employer, either the government or a private entity (such as an hotel).

        The question is, what is the answer to the problem? The problem being the bully employer who can tear up contracts, impose unfair unilateral changes to working conditions, and not following simple Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA), knowing that workers have no option but to accept, and these workers have no meaningful legal remedy in the courts.

        Let’s examine the last labour dispute with the hotel breaking the CBA. Employees of the hotel were made redundant, the problem was not that these employees were made redundant, the problem was because the hotel broke the CBA with the union. The union members did not strike the same day, the next day, or even the day after. They tried to hold talks with the Minister and the hotel. The hotel did not want to restore employment to the union members during the arbitration period, which they are suppose to do. The strikes only happened as a result of the bully employer (the hotel) decided not to cooperate during meetings to come to an agreement with the BIU and their members. My question is, after the BIU tries to work out the problem with the bully employer and the bully employer does not want to cooperate after days or months of talks, what options does the union, any union, and their members have in such a situation?

        Waiting 21 days to strike against an injustice that is happening in that present moment, takes away from the effectiveness of a strike and the human right to strike.

        • Mike Hind says:

          I get where you’re coming from, but I don’t get how this takes away the right to strike.

          I get the immediacy problem, and that’s a very good point.
          I just think that there is a level of respect for the public, folks that aren’t involved in the dispute, that is lacking.

          Why do folks that don’t have a dog in the fight have to be inconvenienced unneccesarily?

          Wouldn’t it be better to create a scenario where “If you don’t fix this, we will strike” is more powerful, thus keeping the power of the strike while removing the need for strikes, unless absolutely necessary?

          You say “Waiting 21 days to strike against an injustice that is happening in that present moment, takes away from the effectiveness of a strike and the human right to strike.”, and I get that, I just don’t see it like that.

          I see it more as “Working for 21 days to fix the problem and, if that doesn’t work, we go to the last resort: a strike.”

          I guess I just see a strike as the last resort and maybe others see it as the first.

          Maybe that’s the whole problem.

          • We the People!! (1st) says:

            I agree with you that strikes should be the last resort. I’ve have taken your exact position on this issue myself.

            My issue with 21 days is that 21 days could be a bit excessive for issues that are a matter of ‘urgency of now’. Also, it could be a bit excessive especially if the two parties involved have already been in discussion weeks or months prior to giving the 21 day notice.

            Also, I do not and will never support the position, “If you don’t fix this, we will strike” that the union and their members can take sometimes. So yes, we do need to create a better scenario than that. With that said, I do not believe that the union members decide to strike as their first option before giving talks between the union and the employer a chance to work. I base this on the last strike action with the hotel and the fact the union did also strike under the PLP after the PLP did not cooperate at times with them after weeks and months of discussions.

            Imagine if the bully employer is the government, PLP or OBA, and the union have been trying to resolve whatever the issue is for the past few weeks and months with the government. The government after having ample time to resolve the issue now wants the union to them give them a 21 day notice. That belongs on the ridiculous list.

            One week for transportation services, which is not a critical service, is more than enough time for a notice.

            With all that said, striking should always be the last option only after talks have failed.

            • Mike Hind says:

              So… it’s just the length of time that’s the issue?

              If they changed it to 7 days (or split the difference and go with 10 days), you’d be cool with it?

              If so, what’s the difference? If 21 days is “removing someone’s right to strike”, why isn’t it the same for 7 or 10?

              And surely, if everyone agrees to the 21 days, the notice will go in earlier into the negotiations, no?

              I get that we all need protection from bully employers…

              But don’t we all deserve protection against a bully union?

              • We the People!! (1st) says:

                Mike,

                The length of time is partly the issue. The issue of 21 days comes down to legality of the striking action. Striking before giving a 21 day notice will essentially be illegal.

                So no, giving a 21 day, 7 day, or 5 day notice does is not ‘removing someone’s right to strike.’ In that position the length of days does not matter. However, it does matter when it comes down to, is the striking act legal or illegal?

                So my question to you is; if the union and the other party have been in talks for weeks or months already, and the employer has not cooperated over that period of time, don’t you think that 21 days is excessive to make it legal to strike after the other party has spent weeks, being non-committal, evading/dodging/sidestepping/ the issue with the union and their members.

                And yes, we do at times need protection against a bully union.

                • Mike Hind says:

                  Personally, no. I don’t think so.

                  (I also would like to point out that you’re presenting it VERY one sidedly, laying everything on the employer.
                  For me, there are always two sides and if the union is making unfair, unacceptable demands and is refusing to budge, that’s just as bad as the employer not cooperating.

                  Three weeks seems, to me, like it’s forcing a paradigm change on both sides.

                  It gives a solid tool – the threat of a strike, something that no one wants… well… no. It seems at this point, some people DO want it… let me change it to “something that no one should want” – in a definite framework.
                  With that framework in place, in the weeks and months of talks, if the employers are being non committal, the union now have a way to force movement that doesn’t force the issue on the rest of the island.

                  I think most folks aren’t actually anti-union, they just want one that works properly.

                  I don’t think that anyone can honestly say it’s working properly at the moment.

                  • 32n64w says:

                    Kudos to you both for a reasonable exchange of views without deteriorating the discourse with name calling or hysteria!

        • mixitup says:

          @ We the people – These people will never see it that way. They don’t believe in the balance of ensuring a fair work environment.. They believe in “Eat your crumbs and be thankful you have a job!” And Don’t complain!

          • Mike Hind says:

            “These people”?

          • We the People!! (1st) says:

            @mititup – That is very true. Some people do take that unfortunate position. Many greedy Wall-Street business take that same position. Wonder why we are in such a mess around the world?

          • George Somers says:

            You’re right “we people” will never be able to see it “that way”! Such statements typify exactly why this situation will never be solved amicably! The BIU management are arguing that this as a loss of their members “rights” but what they are actually fighting against is a loss of their power, power to manipulate the Government to do what they want, while the Government and others see this as an enforcement of responsibility and accountability of the BIU and its members to the residents of this Island through enforcement of the law of the land! So you decide do the so-called “rights” of 1,000+ BIU members supersede the rights of the rest of the residents of this Island because that’s what it boils down to – a misdirected/misguided attempt to cling on to power by any means necessary. Nothing more nothing less. Chris Furbert and Derek Burgess know this and unfortunately the BIU members and everyone else on this 21 square mile Rock are all just pawns in their game to try and maintain their positions of power!

        • Edmund Spenser says:

          Finish the quote from the ILO. They also discuss notice periods and suggested notice periods. I believe the ILO recommendation for transportation services is 20 days notice.

          • We the People!! (1st) says:

            I don’t know what ILO document you are reading, but the ‘ILO PRINCIPLES CONCERNING THE RIGHT TO STRIKE’ and you can Google that does not give recommendations for transportation services or any other services. If it does please correct me and point out the page number. It does give recommendations for wage deductions for days of strike action.

            • Edmund Spenser says:

              It’s a rats nest of links but in broad terms… From the Document you quote, section 10 paragraph G. Section 4 Paragraph 1. Section 4 Paragraph 1 also references ILO 1996b paragraph 502 and 504. I’ll try and find this later to provide more details. It’s late and like I said, the ILO webpage is a rats nest of links.

            • Edmond Spenser says:

              Found it, Labour Legislation Guidelines, Chapter 5, Notice Periods

              “In many countries, the law requires workers and their organizations to give a certain period of notice of their intention to strike. In so far as this requirement is conceived as an additional stage in the bargaining process and is designed to encourage the parties to engage in final negotiations before resorting to strike action, it may be seen as a measure taken to encourage and promote the development of voluntary collective bargaining, in accordance with Convention No. 98. However, the required notice period should not be so long as to unduly restrict the right to strike. Moreover, shorter periods of notice should be required where the preceding period of conciliation and mediation is already lengthy and has enabled the remaining matters in dispute to be clearly identified (General Survey, para. 172).

              Notice periods that are applicable in general to all types of establishment should be short, whereas those applying in essential services or services of social or public interest may reasonably be longer. The Committee on Freedom of Association has found the following notice periods in such services to be compatible with principles of freedom of association:
              a 20-day notice period in the case of services of social or public interest (Digest, para. 504); and
              a 40-day notice period in the case of an essential service, provided that the time period is designed to provide the parties with further time for reflection (Digest, para. 505).”
              Hope this helps, I would put transportation as “social or public interest” with 20 days recommended notice.

        • Speak Truth says:

          Well said , well said…@we the people. I look forward to hearing more in regards to this issue from you amd Bettty.

        • jt says:

          Let’s examine KFC, where the actual employees invloved never walked out…and yet…

    • Smdh says:

      FYI …. Transport for London gave the people notice before they went on strike. TFL even sent a message out to public the week before to advise the public that there will be a strike in the next week. And even though the tubes were on strike, majority of the buses were still going. Giving the people an alternative way to get around.

    • PBanks says:

      The tourist would still not get the advance warning, but the powers that be would have time to come up with contingency plans (eg co-ordinate more ‘minibus’ and taxi services to the given locations). Maybe even get enterprising locals to lend aid to the system, which may diminish the negative effect on visitors.

      All in the meantime, hopefully the aggrieved parties would try to work out an agreeable arrangement.

  3. Terry says:

    Because they would be on strike.

  4. Kangoocar says:

    I am thankful for everyday we have a responsible government ( OBA ) taking care of the people’s business and looking out for everyone!! Min Fahy needs to stand firm and stop us ALL going back to the plantation, which is exactly what would happen if the this plp partner the biu have their way!!! Their followers are just to naive to know it!!!!!

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      “I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.”

      John D. Rockefeller

      As the Chess pieces move further…the ONE TIME GOVERNMENT of the OBAubp gets closer… keep moving the CHess pieces…

  5. Bull in a hurry says:

    Stick to your guns Minister Fahy. This nonsense can not be allowed to continue if Bermuda is to succeed. To all the Ferry and Bus related staff how did your paycheck last week work for you after your last unpaid work stoppage ? Don’t be used by Brother Chris to further the PLP’s political agenda! You can bet he got a full paycheck last week!

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      MR> FURBERT also sticks to his guns for the RIGHTS of his WORKERS. So the same way you praise the actions of Mr Fahy, others have the right to praise the actions of Mr. Furbert. But I should ask you, is the impact of not working with Labour in an effective way does nothing for Bermuda. There are other ways in which workers can address this issue, that will have a more bigger impact than a strike alone. That is something you and others are overlooking.

      • Enough says:

        You’re an absolute disgrace whoever you are. To praise the actions of Furbert and his comments relating to slavery and the plantations is deplorable. Then to have Burgess come out and hint at riots is nothing short of trying to incite the unions and those that support them rather than work towards a solution. Everyone on here and in the Unions seems to be blind to the fact that this isn’t taking away the right to strike, it is simply giving 21 days notice.

        It appears to me that there are two issues here. One, the union members are completely clueless as to what it is they are giving out about. Or two, the union members are now agitated because they simply can’t walk off the job at the drop of a hat and mess around with the livelihoods of the rest of us Bermudians.

        Resorting to bringing slavery and race into this is inexcusable and most Bermudians should be outraged by how Furbert & Burgess have demeaned both those issues.

  6. Kevin says:

    It is amazing on the level of intelligence that is being displayed by Furbert and PLP Burgess what a disgrace to go to the level they have fallen too “Plantations , Slavery” wow pretty sad
    I really wonder to what level “they” will go …you want to talk about going back well BIU – PLP have done a good job to date
    Congrats you have both proven we made the right choice in 2012

    • Kangoocar says:

      @kevin, never under estimate the level of stupidity the biu/plp can go!!! If you do, you will be disappointed every time!!! We need to stand strong and do everything we can to help all Bermudians even those that are to ignorant to know any better!!!!

      • js says:

        I really hate this guy

        • Kangoocar says:

          Which guy ???

          • mixitup says:

            I’ll answer for him – YOU! js… pick a number and get in line. Kangoocar is that typical old ______ Bermudian who long for those old days…

            help those too ignorant to know better? You really believe that anyone believes someone like you has their better interest at heart?! please!

            • Mike Hind says:

              What’s the blank? Why so scared to use a word?

            • Kangoocar says:

              First off, I am not as old as you think, secondly I am proud of the fact that I get under the skin of those that have no clue in life!!! All those that agree with me can’t be wrong can they?? When those such as you can only say nasty things ( I am fully aware of what the space in your comment was meant for ) about someone with out anything to back it up says it all about you doesn’t it???when your backs are against the wall you will always bring the race card into it, typical of those that actually refuse to learn things and be apart of the solution to all our problems in this island!!!

          • Coffee says:

            Kangaroo is your typical two legged rat who has spent too much time in the outback .

        • White castle says:

          If you mean Furball, I’m with ya.

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      “Labor disgraces no man; unfortunately, you occasionally find men who disgrace labor.”

      Ulysses S. Grant

      Folks will stand firm, regardless. The fight for WORKERS RIGHTS is a strong fight, and only takes brave and strong man. The benefits you celebrate today on your job, was due to brave man like Mr. Furbert whom stood up for WORKERS RIGHTS, regardless.

  7. Reality says:

    I trust the union, thus when they say thus situation is akin to slavery then I believe them. I did however call up my old teacher and f’d him off for talking about hangings, torture, kidnaping etc during lessons on slavery. Obviously he was full of it.

    Same goes for those great grand parents and whining about the old days. They have no idea what it’s like to be a unionized worker in this hell hole.

  8. Paul says:

    I am so tired of the BS that both parties are spewing out…..and else for the so called talk show host that has her own agenda…and we know what she is all about … I wish we had the UBP STILL RUNNING THIS ISLAND….

  9. shutthemdown says:

    bah 21 day notice is stupid because when it is time we dont give a f..k about notice… fahy.

    fahy is an clown who is trying to roll back workers rights.

    • Mike Hind says:

      That’s exactly the problem.

      “You” don’t care about notice. That’s the whole point of all this.

    • jt says:

      That’s ok – strike as you deem appropriate. Hopefully the BIU has the funds to pay the fines and the workers. Are you conifdent in that? How could you be? Your union doesn’t produce financial statements to let you know where your money goes. How can you accept that?

  10. Lone Wolf says:

    Dear Bettty Trump. Do you even read your own posts? You said it yourself, “How they can protest when striking is often the workers last resort.”

    The whole problem is they weren’t using it as a last resort. They strike every five minutes now whenever the wind changes direction.

    Serves them right. I’m looking forward to that glorious headline the day they all lose their ‘jobs’.

    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

      @Lone Wolf….You are the one missing the FACTS. Often issues with workers have been ongoing for months. The Management/government fail to act upon addressing the ongoing issues. IN some cases these issues have been outstanding over a period of more than 2 years.

      Workers usually only take Strike actions after they have tried, tried, and tried to encourage government to come to the table and talk. This does not happen, so workers as a last resort will take strike action. But even before that, they attempt to employ other approaches to have the issues addressed. Workers do not take this lightly, they only want Equal Rights and Justice…nothing more, nothing less.

      If this law comes into place…Unions will be smarter with employment of other tactics if Management and government fail to address ongoing issues.

      The Chess move, is great is ensures OBAubp will only have a few more pieces to be moved….

      • Edmund Spenser says:

        If the issues have been going on as long as you state then the solution from the BIU seems simple. Instead of negotiating 3 months and then call a strike, negotiate for 2 months and file notice to strike. If what you are saying is true about the time behind the scenes that these negotiations are taking place, there is absolutely no difference between the two scenarios. There could even be more of an incentive to settle during the strike notice period thus making this a win-win. Instead of negotiating for 3 months and striking for a week, negotiate for 2 months, file notice and settle without a strike in 2 weeks. Settle disputes quicker, without a strike that harms the fragile economy of Bermuda.

      • Lone Wolf says:

        So yesterday’s mini strike was a result of months and months of unresolved issues? I think not. Yesterday was a result of action taken the day before. Like I said, whenever the wind changes …..

  11. OMG says:

    I think the biu/plp just got CHANTED by the Premier and Minister Fahy.

    LJ nuttin to say…go away….dont come back another day lol

  12. Infidelguy says:

    Mr. Premier. Here’s a quote that I would like to share with you:

    “In the business world, the rear view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” — Warren Buffett

    • Kangoocar says:

      @infidelguy, Warren buffet is a left wing nut job that has no problem dictating what the stock market does to his own benefit, which simply means for the slow, he dictates when you make money with your retirement pension or when you LOSE money and have to keep working until the day you die because he decided to fill his bank accounts with cash!!! I find it unbelievable that people will quote those that they have no knowledge of???? Do some research for a change and you might think otherwise before you quote certain people!!!?

      • Infidelguy says:

        @Kangoocar:

        You really missed the point didn’t you?

        :)

        LOL!!!

        • Kangoocar says:

          No I got you, but the likes of buffet I can’t stand, that’s all nothing personal.

        • Kangoocar says:

          Now re reading what I said to you, I might have gone a bit far, sorry about that!! I just get worked up when it comes to certain people and buffet happens to be one of them LOL

  13. Coffee says:

    Games up for the OBA , we know who is moving your hand , indeed who is really running the show . When the union MADE that hotel take Back the the bar porters , decisions were made outside of the OBA to never allow that to ever happen again , I got the picture who is the real power behind the OBA . Connect the dots people , it all makes sense now , YOU HAVE BEEN EXPOSED , pity your my favorite color , the color of MONEY .

    • Mike Hind says:

      Who?

      Your post is all “I know what’s up”, but you don’t actually say anything.

      Who do you think is “moving their hand”?
      Who is “running the show”?
      Who is “the real power behind the OBA”?

      Do tell.

      Unless you’re just flinging mud…

      • BlueFamiliar says:

        The clue is in the ‘favourite color’ remark. Kind of worries me that I can understand the paranoid.

        • Mike Hind says:

          Wait… seriously?

          OH! He’s crazy!

          See, I always go into these thinking the person writing is sane, but has an agenda.
          I forget that there are folks out there that just make stuff up and then think it’s true!

    • BlueFamiliar says:

      You may have had way too much coffee because your paranoia is showing.

      • Coffee says:

        They have pulled a classic Rothschild strategy on the electorate of Bermuda ; Fund both sides of the war .. Show confidence in the former administration , buy and build Hamilton property , all the while the bug eye is focused on the then opposition and a prime and vacant south shore property . Very clever but if your looking very transparent . That whole UBP..BDA..OBA was a professionally orchestrated affair put into motion by people who have one goal in mind …Complete domination of the financial , political and social strata of Bermuda .There you have it my people , black or white , pay close attention . Minister Fahy is doing what he is told to do , not what he wants to , although he is very eager to please people who he THINKS has his best interest . Poor thing to be used in such a way .

        • BETTTY TRUMP says:

          Well said @COffee, I wonder if Bermudians are really paying attention to this government. Now their next strategy is to investigate the PLP again, for election purposes to hold unto power. That will only pend out to be a waste of Tax payers monies. Yet they fail to investigate the Jetgate 4..TRANSPARENCY I think NOT.

          Folks wake up to this government, whom operates undercover.

        • Mike Hind says:

          Do you have an OUNCE of evidence to back this up, or are you just talking out of your hat?

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Thursday is my ‘slow’ day. What in the world are you talking about?

  14. nuffin but the truth says:

    the fact is…the biu really don’t give a dam about your children or older folk

    but they do know how to act like children throwing a tantrum when they don’t get their own way.

    If someone’s child is molested by some pervert that told the child I’ll take you home when there is no bus or transport you will cry then.

    Will you cry when some old lady is robbed walking home because there is no transport.

    • nuffin but the truth says:

      I see 3 dislikes already,I must have hit a nerve!

  15. Take it Easy! says:

    Mr. Fahy they are just upset now that after 21 days people will have their own forms of transportation already figured out! Thats why Chris and the PLP/BIU are so mad cuz if they do “strike” they can’t hold the paying public ransom! Thanks minister and oba for protecting the paying publics rights! How does that sound Chris?

  16. Knobhead says:

    We are all so bore of Chris Furbert and his lazy union members, people don’t have jobs, what makes them so arrogant they can walk out?

    The times they are a changing.

    Good for you Fahy, we all thought it.

    • Impressive says:

      How could you make such a blanket statement?? You really showed your true colors. Your post is full of stereotypes and using a broad brush. move along,

      • Mike Hind says:

        Weird how you don’t rail against folks posting stereotypes and using a broad brush when they claim that people are against this based on their skin colour.

        Why is that?

  17. Coffee says:

    Just a few short years ago when the ACE boys and girls were getting $60,000 and $80,000 bonuses for Christmas , nobody cared about the peasants who worked at their lowly wretched government bus driving and ferry piloting $50,000 a year job . What happened , do they not deserve to make $50,000 a year any more . Or is it , If you want to work that lowly job then you must obey a few unjust , arbitrary and never before thought of laws ?

    • Mike Hind says:

      What on earth are you talking about?

      • BETTTY TRUMP says:

        Clueless and blindfaithfulness is the problem of the UBPoba diehards..REALLY …

        • Mike Hind says:

          You know that just saying that little bit of hypocritical nonsense… Especially YOU saying it… Doesn’t make it true, right?

          You’ve been proved wrong on this so many times, it’s just ridiculous now, when you say it,

    • Noncents says:

      @ Coffee- Utter drivel. Attacking the private sector with absolutely no reason to do so. When international business packs up and leaves, so do the 6 figure bonuses that are pumped into our local economy (shops/restaurants etc). Where do you think the money comes from to pay the $50k Govt salaries you are so desperate to protect?

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        The money that goes into CS, all Government paychecks, falls from the sky. It is magic. Didn’t you know?

  18. SMH says:

    The PLP would never get my vote ad I’m a black Bermudian. How could they side with this disgraceful behaviour of Chris Furbert. This just is do beyond insane. I believe Chris Furbert is totally wrong and self serving. He’s fighting for his ego not Bermuda’s best interest. I stand behing this Government 100%.

  19. SMH says:

    The PLP would never get my vote and I’m a black Bermudian. How could they side with this disgraceful behaviour of Chris Furbert. This just is so beyond insane. I believe Chris Furbert is totally wrong and self serving. He’s fighting for his ego not Bermuda’s best interest. I stand behing this Government 100%.

  20. Lone Wolf says:

    A little too much brandy in that there coffee I think.

  21. MAKE MY DAY says:

    Like *Larry* the cable-guy says…. Get ‘er done – because both Furbert and his union cronies need a good boost to try and help save BDA from this very “selfish and maniacal” bunch-of-clowns!!!

  22. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    @Edmond Spencer I also agree that buses and ferries should be put in a social and public interest service and shorten the notification period to 7 days, and here are my reasons why…

    The 21 day strike notification will be law in accordance to the Bill to be presented to the House, NOT under the standards and/or classification of the ILO. The precedence was established in law with regard to the essential services ‘list’ already enacted in Bermuda.

    The vital issue here is, under the current ILO classification, are buses and ferries an ‘essential service’ or simply a ‘social or public interest service?’ And, clearly by the words of the Minister himself who is championing this issue, disruptive services [buses and ferries] are an ‘inconvenience’ to the public, but NOT essential; not in the sense of electricity, life saving medicines and/or the medical care of patients, or even the importance of chicken feed (in accordance to the essential services ‘list’ – I kid you not!).

    As we all know and can agree that people can be highly inconvenience but not have their lives and/or livelihoods under imminent threat. These two services do not rise to the level of a vital service; to reiterate, an ‘essential service’ they are NOT.

    Furthermore, as Bermuda’s legal precedence shortens essential services from a 40 day notification (by ILO standards) to a 21 day notification by Bermuda legislation; it stands to reason that a ‘social or public interest service’ should be shorten to a 7 day notification by the Union to the Government of Bermuda.

    Simply put, it would speed the process up and get Bermuda back to work quickly. No Fahy and Furbert, not interested? Well you have room for flexibility, but then again ‘labour’ is the single most important issue for foreign investment into Bermuda, so, when foreign investors commission feasibility reports the scope of labour relations in Bermuda is a vital consideration.

    Labour relations and whether the Government can resolve any disputes BEFORE industrial action takes place is vital to foreign investors. On the other hand a ‘social or public interest’ category for buses and ferries with a 7 day notification makes a lot of sense. It’s a matter of saving valuable time and time is money.

    Being flexible and changing the category of this service and its notification period can be a win/win for all involved.

    Just a thought…

    London, England

    • Suzie Quattro says:

      So you have no problem with a notice period (unlike Furbert), but in your opinion it should be shorter than the ILO guidelines. For ‘services in the public interest’ the ILO suggests 20 days.

      And your reasoning relates to your observation that Bermuda’s laws are already far more lenient than the ILO would suggest is reasonable.

      Remind me. How on earth can what the government is suggesting be regarded as unreasonable? We are far more union-friendly than current international standards, and this will not change that.

      You live in London, where the transport workers recently voted on January 10 to strike twice, the first time 23 days later on February 5. Did that make the strike ineffective? No. Are the unions there weak? No. In fact the second of the two strikes was cancelled by the union. There is no reason why a 3-week notice period is unreasonable.

    • PBanks says:

      If it was something as easily negotiable as a reduction in the length of days of a strike notice, then I’d be all for it and be wondering why each party hadn’t even brought it up all this time. Even 7 days would be more palatable than the current wildcat craziness.

      Alas, I think the BIU won’t budge from “immediate”. Notice seems a foreign concept to them. Somehow, BPSU gives notice without any problem at all. Odd, that.

  23. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    Do not assume that you can interpret for me…

    Your sneering after a while becomes infantile, target some else who finds you amusing or at best intelligent.

    And as an intelligence being you must be aware that I do not speak for Mr Furbert and/or the Union.

    London, England

    • Suzie Quattro says:

      Not sure if that was aimed at me. I gave reasons why I disagreed with your idea of 7 days. I didn’t suggest that you speak for Furbert; I pointed out that you disagree with him.

      If you don’t like debating with people who have differing opinions I’m not sure why you bother coming on here.

  24. clearasmud says:

    While I understand why the Minister wants to do this, In reality Mr. Furbert is correct that buses and transport are not essential services. If the Minister wants to protect the public interest all he has to do is ensure that existing laws are followed. It is already an offence to escalate a dispute outside of the immediate area of concern yet it happens and the government does nothing. Recently with the Princess issue there was no need for the buses etc. to get involved but they did and the minister did not take any legal step to prevent it which he could have done. Making a new law wont make people obey it. Speeding is illegal but people do it every day!

  25. aqua cadit resurgere says:

    this is about cake and eat it too…marine and ports used to hire their own to maintain there vessels after their 38 1/2 hour work week…of course this would be requiring time and a half…and double time…triple time if on a holiday weekend.plp stoped paying overtime to them a long time ago..this resulted in the work not getting done,thereby making the vessels dangerous to operate…any one in marine and ports will tell you when they stopped this maintenance program…they actually expected the work to do itself….well …I can see the need for a maintenance list for each vessel ,and an autonomis contractor to do this maintenance as a night shift, in fact…I’ll do it…let me put a crew together,where and who do I speak to about logistics?I’ll put my money where my mouth is…

  26. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    Points of clarification…

    The strike was called off as the Mayor of London conceded to the demands of the Union.

    The UK has a population of under 64million and London has a population of over 8million who depends upon public transport, and transport here is very different from transport in Bermuda. Transport for London [TFL] wanted to close many tube stations and leave jobs including trains unmanned. TFL caved in before the next round of labour disruptions commenced as it became too damaging to manage. The public sentiment was with the Union, not TFL and/or the Mayor London who represents TFL.

    Bermuda with a much smaller population can find the advantage in a more lenient 7 day period, that’s my opinion, not an endorsement to and/or by the Union.

    My rationale, Unions are more agile and flexible and can move much quicker than the Government and/or private enterprise as their finger is on the pulse of what the problem really is. There are greater strategic advances in having a shorter notification period. As you stated in your comments (and now tell me place my interpretation), it does not prevent the Union from giving repeated strike notice and taking repeated strike action on the same issue.

    Hopefully, this is the last time we correspond, I have an aversion to those who never post under their real names but demand answers from those who do.

    NB: ‘intelligence’ was corrected to ‘intelligent’ in the final edit of the last post and the correction was posted with a one minute lag time.

    London, England

  27. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    @Suzie Quartz – Points of clarification…

    The strike was called off as the Mayor of London conceded to the demands of the Union.

    The UK has a population of under 64million and London has a population of over 8million who depends upon public transport, and transport here is very different from transport in Bermuda. Transport for London [TFL] wanted to close many tube stations and leave jobs including trains unmanned. TFL caved in before the next round of labour disruptions commenced as it became too damaging to manage. The public sentiment was with the Union, not TFL and/or the Mayor London who represents TFL.

    Bermuda with a much smaller population can find the advantage in a more lenient 7 day period, that’s my opinion, not an endorsement to and/or by the Union.

    My rationale, Unions are more agile and flexible and can move much quicker than the Government and/or private enterprise as their finger is on the pulse of what the problem really is. There are greater strategic advances in having a shorter notification period. As you stated in your comments (and now this is my interpretation), it does not prevent the Union from giving repeated strike notices and/or taking repeated strike action on the same issue.

    Hopefully, this is the last time we correspond. I have an aversion to those who never post under their real names but demand answers from those who do.

    London, England

    NB: ‘intelligence’ was corrected to ‘intelligent’ in the final edit of the last post and the correction was posted with a one minute lag time.

  28. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    It is transparent that Senator Fahy will not only present a Bill in the House that turns a ‘social and public interest service’ into an ‘essential service’, but he ought to have known the difference – hence, his motive for the miscommunication.

    The disruptive service with a march on Parliament is perfectly justifiable when politicians who should know better and ought to do better, stoop to this type of underhanded tactic and attempt to sell the public ‘essential service’ propaganda.

    The Bill should be withdrawn and amended to become a ‘social and public interest service’, and the period of notification negotiated beforehand and/or agreed upon by both the Union and Government.

    When all the correct steps are taken, it allows labour relations to run smoothly.

    Cannonier, stop standing behind your ministers when they are dead wrong, you need to demonstrate that you have the ability to do the right thing even if it delays a very badly drafted Bill.

    London, England

  29. ABC says:

    blah bl;ah everyday % ▼▲▼

    weres de love ÿæÆò