BTUC: Govt Will Not Proceed With Reform Act

October 24, 2014

According to a statement from the Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC], the Premier has “agreed that the Government will not proceed with the Public Bodies Reform Act at this time.”

The BTUC consists of multiple unions including the Bermuda Federation of Musicians & Variety Artists, Bermuda Fire Services Association, Bermuda Industrial Union, Bermuda Public Services Union, Bermuda Union of Teachers, Electrical Supply Trade Union and the Bermuda Prison Officers Association.

The statement from the BTUC said, “The Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC] met on Thursday, 2nd October, 2014 and decided that an urgent meeting should be arranged with the Premier and his Cabinet concerning the Public Bodies Reform Act and SAGE recommendation. The meeting was arranged for Thursday, 16th October, 2014, at 4:00 p.m.

“At the meeting held on Thursday, 16th October, 2014, the Bermuda Trade Union Congress met with the Premier and members of his Cabinet. The BTUC voiced its concern about the two issues; the Public Bodies Reform Act and the SAGE Report. These are very serious issues which could affect the lives of our members and the general public.

“The BTUC made its position quite clear to the Government that the Congress could not support the Public Reform Act which could lead to Privatization, Mutualization or Outsourcing of Government workers’ jobs without first having a real conversation about Public Service Reform. The BTUC stressed the need for real Civil Service Reform, and the consideration a 3 to 5 year Deficit Budget Reduction Plan.

“After a very robust discussion by both parties, it was agreed that a committee comprised of both parties; Government and the BTUC be set up to seriously consider the points raised by the Congress. The BTUC requested that the Government should put the Public Bodies Reform Act on hold.

“The Premier has agreed that the Government will not proceed with the Public Bodies Reform Act at this time,” the BTUC said.

For all our coverage of the Public Bodies Reform Act click here.

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  1. Govt: Bill Will Not Be Tabled In First Session - Bernews.com : Bernews.com | October 26, 2014
  1. Double Standards says:

    What are the Unions’ solutions to what the BPSU head labelled as Government’s ‘horrible financial state?’

    All I have heard is threats and not one solution from their camp thus far.

    • In quoting a very wise man: “Apathy is ubiquitous, (but no one really cares).”

    • Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

      I do not know if they have expressed alternative solutions or not. This is because I was not in any meetings with the Premier and the BTUC. Please confirm that you were at these meetings and know for a fact that they did not give any solutions. Otherwise, I would like to point out to all readers that this is someone’s opinion and not based on any facts.

    • Kunta says:

      People Power

  2. DweD says:

    It is NOT the responsibility of the BPSU or any other union for that matter to come up with solutions for Bermuda’s “horrible financial state”. The OBA government were elected to come up with solutions to our financial state and the only thing they could think to do is lay it at the feet of the Civil Service when the entire island needs to bear/share the burden of this debt as we all benefited from it in one way or another. Collaboration across all sectors and using the input of gov. own technical officers and staff as well as public consultation should have been employed to find alternative revenue streams in addition to cost cutting measures. Cost cutting should only be looked at as creating a little breathing room while other industries and initiatives are given time to flourish. See the answers aren’t so simple heh!

    • Creamy says:

      Yes it is their responsibility. The rest of us idiots who’s jobs are not guaranteed, and who have to judtify our employment every day. Are fed up with subsidizing civil frikin servants. There are too many of them, and they’re like spoiled brats. **** them. With their 14 weeks sivk leave and 7 weeks vacation. Lazy bastards.

    • Derek A. G. Jones says:

      With all due respect, I wholeheartedly disagree. The BPSU and all other union leadership are made up of elected people who’s job is to determine ways to make sure their fellow members are fully employed in sustainable careers. Sitting back and waiting for a government body to come up with solutions is not the answer. We all need to be proactive and that means making recommendations that are valid and viable and cost cutting might have to be a part of the solution. I do agree however that the answers are not simple.

      Putting the reform act on hold is a good idea as I think that due to the two recent storms there could be a silver lining that helps put many blue collar workers back to work. We should make sure all potential opportunities to put people back to work repairing and rebuilding Bermuda are exploited for the benefit of all first and foremost.

      • Allspice says:

        I’ll add that at any time during the discussions of the Sage Commission the unions might have raised their concerns in the interests of their membership. After all it’s not as if nobody knew what the sage commission was talking about. It’s not as if any citizen could not have written a serious letter to them offering up information about the situation and offering solutions in the interests of those they represent.
        The unions prefer to wait until now and claim victimhood, which serves nobody, not even themselves.

    • Allspice says:

      Your statement that the unions are not responsible for coming up with solutions demonstrates the fundamental problem in this situation. If the unions refuse to offer solutions then other people will be forced to come up with them because solutions are what is needed. If members of the society refuse to help resolve the society’s problems then who will do it?
      It is childish and myopic to revert to the old obstructionist tactics. If we do nothing as the unions seem to propose then there is a much greater likelyhood that their members will find themselves unemployed and that we have not seen the worst of this economic crisis yet.
      If that happens the unions will be to blame, and at that time they will blame government.
      This is our last chance. After this we will be remembered only as those idiots who threw away one of the best economies in the world.

    • While ... says:

      While it may not be the responsibility of the BPSU to come up with solutions they do have to accept that “something” has to be done and that something is going to have to involve reducing the size of the civil service. Simply put, it’s too large and the island simply can’t afford to retain it in it’s current form.

      The island faces an almost $300 million deficit this year and unless something drastic happens government is going to have to go to the global markets to borrow again and add to our existing $2.4 billion debt (and don’t forget that number doesn’t include the funding shortfalls in the various government pension plans, which, BTW includes the pensions of those civil servants).

      • Nitty Gritty says:

        It is also evident by the major bank here, judging by their reluctance to lend or place anything but low values on our real estate, that they do not see a great future as long as the Bermudians cant do what is obvious in any other country.
        The solutions have been investigated, advised on and made public.
        Time to bite the bullet or those unions will be handing out weekly
        stipends to their members soon enough.

      • James says:

        I couldn’t agree more, the Cvil Service staffing levels must be reduced. Based on recent reports, expatriate workers represent close to 20% of the Civil Service work force or approximately 1,900 workers. I don’t know the annual-average salary for this group, but let’s just say for arguments sake that it’s somewhere between $45k and $65k, this would represent between $85,000,000 and $123,000,000 in annual salaries.

        This would be a good place to start!

        • I would agree with you James only if there are Bermudians available / willing to take their positions immediately.
          True, its a somewhat considerable amount of monies that can be used elsewhere.

          • Danny says:

            With close to 3,5000 Bermudians out of work, I would argue that many have the education and ability to fill these positions. The Desire changes radically when your options are limited and you must pay mortgages, put food on the table and keep the lights on. Let’s test this!!

        • Creamy says:

          What “recent reports”? Link.
          Sounds like fiction, but if you link to the report we could all see it.

  3. Jo Blo says:

    Will be interesting to see if these guys can actually work together.

  4. more than enough says:

    Thank you btuc.
    oba start slashing your pay from the top down, as recommended by sage. This is a much more sensible approach. Privitization is not the answer.
    You are the government…so govern.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      How about a combination?

      Clear out the deadwood, then cut remaining pay across the board by, say 15 to 20 percent.

      The reality is that while the unions are supposed to support and defend their members they are supposed to do it in an intelligent way. You don’t defend a member that has committed a criminal act, you don’t defend one that goes against signed agreements, and you don’t defend on that can be proven not to be doing their job.

  5. Trulytruly says:

    Not many options. How do you cut $280m a year from govt expenditure? Easy to talk about a deficit reduction plan but the devil is in the details. How about all civil servants making over 60k take a 25% pay cut and everyone keeps their jobs? Those under 60k take 15%. The alternative is privatization and the expectation of loss of jobs for some. There is no easy answer. We all need to face the reality. The PLP if in power would have the exact same problem to solve. How would they do it without upsetting those most vocal now?

    • Evie says:

      Well said DweD totally agree OBA they are getting paid but have no ideas of there own SMDH lol

    • Dick says:

      1,900 expatriate workers in the Civli Service earning close to $120Million a year……hmmmm, good place to start

      • Creamy says:

        If it weren’t fiction.

      • Creamy says:

        By the way “Dick”, we can all see that you and “John” are the same person.

        • kangoocar says:

          Creamy, you are wasting your time talking to ” dick, james and now danny” just below, they are plp plants on here along with evie, betty, rhonda just to name a few more, and believe me there is more of them as well, dead give away when you see the simple names they post under?? simple people can only think simple things!!!

    • Danny says:

      There are close to 1,900 expats in the Civil Service representing over $100 million in annual salaries—–if we must take draconian action, and it appear that we must, then lets start by not renewing their contracts.

      • Creamy says:

        This morning your number was $20m higher. You lost $20m in one day. You don’t happen to be the PLP shadow finance minister do you?

  6. Win or lose says:

    What happen to we will do this and we will do that OBA?

    OBA is afraid to lose more votes then do the right thing. Bring back the UBP please.

    • hmmm says:

      what nobody mentions, is the principal. All folk talk about the interest payments being covered. We got to make surpluses to pay back the actual debt.

      Interest rates will rise next year and any re-fi will cost us more in annual interest.

      We have got to reduce the debt burden. the union needs to quit strangling all of Bermuda’s future for the sake of their due collection.

      I’ve already laid out a way for employee protection using the laws, law firms and volunteer that work to protect workers rights. This gang mentality of small groups has to stop in Bermuda. We are all part of the bigger one that is Bermuda.

  7. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    “at this time.”

    It’s kind of an important three words.

    I do understand that BTUCs concern, and think that it’s good, if their press release is accurate, that there will be committee meetings to take in all opinions on the matter.

    However, when it comes right down to it, the Government will make the final decision, and not everyone is going to like it, but such is the position Bermuda is presently in.

  8. more than enough says:

    Don’t forget those making over 100k… they could take an even higher cut, say 50%.

  9. watchfuleyes says:

    Be aware of the words – ‘not at this time’

    • Hmmm says:

      How about next week. Seems like the perfect time.

      We need action and if the unions want to hold that up, then they are holding Bermuda up.

  10. Craig Mayne says:

    OBA, you are just like any other government!! you are just kicking the can down the road further in hope of being elected once again!!! I now am totally fed up with all politicians!!! YOU all will do anything to maintain power no matter what the cost to those that have not even been born yet?? thankfully I have made my money and will just sail off to quiter pastures and enjoy my hard work!!! sadly I have to say, there will be families I support that will suffer!!!

  11. I want to thank Premier M.H. Dunkley for taking an approach cautiously as oppose to rushing things through without dotting the “i”s or crossing the “t”s first. “Only fools rush in where wise men fear to tread”
    I do further agree with Trulytruly, if people want to keep a job then they must accept a cut in their wages. We can’t burn the candle from both ends and expect it to last longer :-(

  12. Ace girl says:

    Wow! Who is it that is running Bermuda, the BTUC or the OBA? Everyone knows what has to be done, the country has to move forward. It is disturbing to realize that when the unions throw a tantrum the Government backs off. This is very scary and does not bode well for the country’s future.

  13. Boarders says:

    750 mil to pay government workers a year! Meanwhile the ‘general public” has suffered 3000 job losses, 3-4 day work week EVERY week and someone of us are finding “Hustles” just to get by! While civil servants have given us a furlough day! LMAO by the way! Talk about meeting in the middle with Unions! We the GENERAL PUBLIC have been suffering to long to support an OVER BLOATED government! OBA I PLEA to u do something NOW unions dont NOT run this country they do NOT get elected during a GENERAL ELECTION!

    • Political Prisoner says:

      And they represent only 20% of the workforce. Only 20%. Those who don’t like reduced terms can leave. There are plenty of qualified persons to assume the NECESSARY roles.

  14. Rhonda says:

    People do not take you eye off the ball…the OBA can’t be trusted.
    They say one thing and do another.
    They already admitted that, they contradict themselves and they makes not apologies for it.

    • Rhonda says:

      “your”

      • Ronald says:

        That’s the only correction you felt you needed to make?

    • Creamy says:

      Well anytime there’s any ideas you lot want to “shut de island down” and all that sh1t.
      There are too many public employees. It ain’t that hard to understand.

  15. bluebird says:

    Austerity in Greece did not work.
    But to borrow money at 24.9% did.

  16. bluebird says:

    Bermuda has been too “RICH” and too “LAZY” for too “LONG”
    This nothing new,some guy in Rome i believe it was 431 BC
    said in the Roman senate,
    The people of ROME have to start to learn to “WORK” and stop living
    off the state.
    It is exactly the people that the TUC represent whom will get hurt.
    There is nothing any Goverment can do to satisfy the “TUC” as they are intrenched.

  17. bluebird says:

    There is a solution to the Goverment problem.
    Just TELL every Goverment Department (all 69 of them)
    To cut your own budget by 10% each year for (3) years.
    Those in each Department will find the 10% each year themselves.
    Goverment has no “MONEY” and there is nothing the TUC can do about it.

    • Political Prisoner says:

      They did that already and Paula Cox was ignored, remember?

      • Creamy says:

        No, Paula Cox gave herself a 10% increase and then reduced it by 5% and called it a 5% decrease.

  18. Silence Do Good says:

    What a joke this and the previous government are. How about showing some real leadership and stop wasting money on programs with little benefit or that are out-dated. Governments’ always create silly waste of money programs to garnish a few votes from a minority. How many of those are still on the books. Stop spending money on outside consultants with a 5,000 strong work-force. You would think that you have the expertize and experience already to manage an island/community as big as a municipality.

    Tell me how much the America Cup is going to cost taxpayers and what is benefits and payback. Show us the real numbers or do I have to wait for PATI. Oh it will create jobs in our dead horse of tourism. Just as bad as Beyoncé if not worse to watch boats go around in a circle while Bermudians starve. Let the Tourism industry sort itself out and stop telling Bermudians about trickle down economics and to be involved in the service industry. Let the politician go home and tell their children go work as a pot washer or waiter and try and live in Bermuda. Try encouraging different industries for a change of pace. If you need help I will consult for you on these new industries.

    It is not the civil servant’s job to set the vision for the country. If politician and obviously bad management at the top would get out of the way, I bet some of our really bright civil servants can show you how to cut cost, generate revenue and provide social programs like eduction that really work.

    I hope the BUTC can elighten govenment on how to lead a country back from the brink.

    • Political Prisoner says:

      Don’t seem to have a clue. A March where the attendees wear red or green does not balance the books

  19. Political Prisoner says:

    And I don’t believe for one minute that’s what the Premier said. I believe that’s what the BTUC heard. Good strategy for Dunkley to lead the conversation. Richards is a communications train wreck

  20. Triangle Drifter says:

    OBA, get on with the SAGE recommendations.

    Who is the Government here? The unions or the OBA?

    Every day of delay ups the bill. Enough talking to people who do not want to listen.

  21. 32n64w says:

    If the BTUC are unwilling to proceed with reform of the civil service than at least they can offer to cut the gross salaries by 20% through implementation of a four day work week together with migration from a defined benefits plan to defined contributions. That will engender serious and measurable good will as a starting point towards future changes to ensure both a sustainable workforce and reduction of operating deficits that will hopefully translate into meaningful debt mitigation.

    The Governemnt appear to be listening. While the BTUC do the same?

    • John says:

      I agree, we do need to reduce the Civil Service work force…….Eliminate the 1,900 expats from the Civil Service work force and we eliminate over $100 Million a year. Good place to start?

  22. Voter says:

    All of this because of the PLP. The workers have to pay.

  23. more than enough says:

    We have a 300mil.deficit, and a 750mil.payroll obligation…cut the payroll obligation in half and create the money to pay on the debt. Those that can’t make this type of sacrifice can feel free to pursue other areas of employment.
    I think that all mp’s should immediately make significant cuts to their wages (eg. 50% or more…) This example being set from the top will make it much more understandable for the other senior civil servants and all other gov.employees down to the lowest position, to take cuts as well. Larger percentages for the higher paid positions and smaller and smaller cuts down to the smallest cuts for the lowest paid workers.
    Efforts could also be made to ensure satisfactory productivity. No results, no job. No freinds or favours either, on or in any level of gov.business can be allowed. Also I think gov.jobs/positions should have an expiration date, 15 to 20 years tops, and the requirment to prepare the next most worthy candidate for the job, to ensure upward mobility.
    This reformation of the current unsustainable model might actually be able to help bail us out of this mess.

  24. Vote for Me says:

    And now for genuine consultation!!

  25. Chris Famous says:

    Well look who was the one who brought the Public Bodies Reform Act to the HOA.

    PUBLIC BODIES REFORM ACT 2014
    Hon. Michael H. Dunkley: Mr. Speaker, I have the
    honour to attach and submit for the information of this
    Honourable House a draft Bill of the Public Bodies
    Reform Act 2014. Thank you, Mr. Speaker

    18 July ,2014

  26. cole says:

    Cutting govt dept budgets while keeping staff just means the public pays for staff who can’t do any work. Time for govt to take the hard staff cuts the rest of us have been taking for 6 years now.

    • Danny says:

      Right on Cole! Let’s start with foreign staff which represent close to 1,900 /20% of the Civil Service or approximately $120,000,000 a year. Would that work for you Cole?

      • Creamy says:

        So you agree the civil sevice should fire 1,900 people. That would be a great start.

        Let’s do it right away. Get rid of 1,900 unnecessary people. Great idea.

        • Danny says:

          I agree that we need to reduce the Civil Service and If draconian measures are required than we should first start with eliminating non Bermudian Civil Service employees. Not difficult to understand at all.

          • Creamy says:

            So you’re no longer lying about the number of nonbermudian cs?
            Or can you link to the “recent report” showing the number at 1,900?

  27. filobedo21 says:

    It looks like another period of appeasement coming up. Th OBA fell back from dealing with the Public Transport, let them keep doing this nonsense, and see what happens when they will finally have to do what Barbados had to do, which the Finance Min. of Barbados said was a decision that should have been made 6 years before… and that is they had to dismiss 3000 Civil Servants with eh stroke of a pen. I am getting more and more disgusted with this unreadiness!!!!!!

    • Danny says:

      I agree that we need to reduce the Civil Service and If draconian measures are required than we should first start with eliminating non Bermudian Civil Service employees. Not difficult to understand at all.

      • Creamy says:

        Yesterday you suggested we save $120m by reducing the civil service by 1,900.
        I agree, great start.

  28. Get it done says:

    The OBA have clearly shown that they listen to the people here. Now the ball is in the unions hand to come with how they will reduce costs by 5%. I think putting the onus on the unions and the civil servants to make the cuts themselves is the way to go BUT this is also the very same group that always have excuses as to why things can’t be changed. Time for unions and civil servants to man up and put their money where their mouth is.