Govt: Bill Will Not Be Tabled In First Session

October 26, 2014

Bermuda House of Assembly generic avi (3)The Government confirmed they met with representatives from the BTUC and agreed that the Public Bodies Reform Bill will “not be tabled during the first session of the House of Assembly and will be deferred thereafter should collective efforts result in a 5% reduction in the operating budget for 2014/15.”

The Government’s statement follows after the Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC] said that the Premier has “agreed that the Government will not proceed with the Public Bodies Reform Act at this time.”

The BTUC [Bermuda Trade Union Congress] 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 BTUC said they “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.

In response, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said, “Last Thursday, [Oct. 17] the Government did meet with representatives from the BTUC. As an outcome of the meeting, the Government agreed that it will continue to work collaboratively with the BTUC to identify opportunities to achieve a 5% savings in its operating budget.

“The Government subsequently determined that a tripartite working group would be appointed.

“The working group will consist of those persons who have been identified to negotiate on the Government’s behalf, senior technical officers, and those representatives that the BTUC identifies.”

The spokesperson continued, “The Government has agreed that the Public Bodies Reform Bill will not be tabled during the first session of the House of Assembly and will be deferred thereafter should collective efforts result in a 5% reduction in the operating budget for 2014/15.

“However it should be noted that the required policy development work and drafting of the Bill will continue during this period.

“As an added note, in keeping with the SAGE recommendation to appoint individuals independent of the Unions to negotiate on its behalf, the Government has appointed Mr. Gary Phillips, Mr. Martin Law and Mr. John Harvey as its negotiators.

“It is expected that the effort to identify the 5% budget reduction will precede formal negotiations, though it is accepted that negotiations may commence during the period if agreed by the parties.”

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

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Comments (49)

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  1. somuchless says:

    Please someone save the island from becoming a 3rd world country. Right now no one wants to give to help and recieve at a later timez Help Lord help.

  2. watcher says:

    I don’t want to hear one more word from the Unions about lack of consultation and not being involved in the process. This gov’t is bending over backwards to include you if at the end of it you don’t get your way thats no grounds for any kind of industrial action.

    • Naive Observer says:

      Agreed. BTUC, this is your chance (last one I hope.) Show the Government and the people you have a better plan for reform and budget cuts or be prepared to accept that the Civil Service must be reduced in size and made more accountable for performance.

      Tick tock…. the clock is running.

      • hmmm says:

        The 5% better not reduce the service we receive..

        Easy cute the union may come up with: don’t fix things, don’t tarmac roads. BUT this is not a saving.

        Paying a load of folks to do next to nothing because you stop what the dept actually is there for is not a 5% saving, it is lunacy.

        Also, the 5% saving discussion precedes formal negotiations, so don’t think if they come up with 5% that is it. That is potentially reducing what has to be done, not replacing it.

      • ole Onion says:

        This Government is ” moving forward ” with great Steps of Nepatism & Hippocrates ” ! What Next ? They’ve just about slold off everything left ! The Snail is next !

    • Rhonda says:

      Maybe the OBA should have consulted first, now this is just sham to lure people into a faults sense of unity. The government is either for reform or selling public asset. Can’t say you are for one thing whilst working in the background on another. How committed is the OBA to reform. But then again they don’t have an issue with contradicting themselves.

      • SMH says:

        Rhonda,

        Both the unions and senior civil servants were an integral part of the SAGE process and were consulted on numerous occasions throughout. Claiming that no one was consulting right now is nothing more than politicking and buying time. The unions are fully aware, and agree that something has to happen but they also have to play the game of showing their member that they are still fighting for their jobs. No matter what happens, how it’s spun in the media, who says what, this all ends the same. The will be a reduction in the cost of the civil service. The only question is will the people of Bermuda do it themselves or will the UK come in and do it for us.

      • Unbelievable says:

        Rhonda, you don’t know what you are talking about.

  3. A Way Forward says:

    This appears to be a reasonable compromise. Let’s work together for the betterment of Bermuda.

    • Runner says:

      Bullsh@t! The unions have way too much power and are way too controlling. Get real and accept that the budget deficit program must include a serious cut back in the civil service. Just because the PLP added way too may folks to a lackluster system doesn’t make it right. Common sense has to prevail at some point or Bermuda will be toast.

      • Kunta says:

        “The Unions have way too much power and too controlling”
        Sounds like de Oligarchy in their heyday
        Karmas a B****
        LMFAO

  4. Something to ponder…
    “Several excuses are always less convincing than one”. -Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)

  5. ….Surely you jest. says:

    This is a climbdown, a flip flop, a backtrack. That Pier 6 meeting obviously spooked the horses inside the OBA. They came face to face with just how unpopular they and their Finance Minister really are. What happened to Bob’s “we have to do this or die” sentiment? Guess it wasn’t that important after all. Mr. “Tough Decision” Dunkley has yet to make one…… Unions 1 OBA 0.

    • Kunta says:

      People Power
      It has been demonstrated frequently worldwide
      It’s about time,especially African Bermudians who had too fight for equality and justice since we landed on this beautiful island we called home.
      Take note Surrogates !!!!!!!

      • hmmm says:

        What about women, their equality and fight for justice went on much longer.

      • hmmm says:

        I find it amazing that you talk of equality, today equality exists, but now you want to differentiate yourself.

        Make up your mind where you are personally Kunta.

        You don’t speak for every Bermudian and for some reason you completely disregard the struggle for equality woman have endured.

      • Silence Do Good says:

        Nice make it about colour. The unions are made up of all types of individuals at all types of social and educational levels. All great people with great families and support Bermuda as their home in a number of ways. Colour has nothing to do with it. Leave it alone.

        • Kunta says:

          Historically in Bermuda it’s been majority African Bermudians that have been forefront of Union involvement and for some strange reason when European Labor supporters and Union Members come to Bermuda to work they’re discouraged to join.
          Mmm
          And when you see labor activity in Bermuda what color do you see that’s active and what color do you see absent.
          Color has nothing to do with it ????
          You’re living in denial or just delusional !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • LongBay Trading says:

      The Pier 6 meeting was compromised before it even started. People arriving with placards and shouting slogans BEFORE the meeting even started are so obviously NOT THERE TO LISTEN. They have come with a preconceived plan and a mission only to disrupt as much as possible and to certainly not listen – Afterall, why arrive with placards and shouting divisive and angry slogans before you even know what the Minister of Finance was going to say or was even TRYING TO SAY ABOVE THE UGLY NOISE AND SHOUTING??. This was a stacked Deck from the get go and there is no pretending otherwise. Shame on OBA for allowing it to go on in the way that it did. they should have stopped it when it became clear people were there for a purpose, and one purpose only – to cause trouble. Shame on these people and I hope the OBA has a bigger pair then is currently showing – sadly.

  6. wondering says:

    i wonder how a 5% reduction can be made without some compromise of a smaller labour force……continuously taking out of the pockets of the current labour force without diminishing its size is counterproductive. lower morale is proportionately equal to the amount of sick days that are used – do the math.

    the $$ “$aved” from the furlough day for instance has not proven to be the “Messiah” that it was intended to be.

    cut back on the use of personal vehicles disguised as GP cars – many of which have more personal miles on them than their intended use.

    hire persons who are technically apt to ensure efficiency

    see the merit of SOME of the Sage REPORT

    STOP THE MYTH THAT GOVT WORKERS ARE LAZY

    - it is the Govt system that enables laziness, inefficiency, complacency, lack of initiative……

    PARADIGM SHIFT REQUIRED – not industrial threats!!!!

    • Creamy says:

      Why do they have 14 weeks sick leave and 6 weeks vacation? Why is that supposed to be necessary? To the rest of is it sounds freakin ridiculous.

    • wondering says:

      ….and furthermore, how can you effectively make a 5% reduction in a world where virtually NO COSTS ARE DIMINISHING?

      the only thing diminishing is the return on investment. the civil service is like a BOAT. a hole that you throw money in but don’t get an abundance of return.

      this is an un-offensive truth that the civil service must accept and stop the perpetuators of the – slack Govt system that enables laziness, inefficiency, complacency, lack of initiative……

      the mentality is toxic. it is easy to complain but so much harder to fix those same problems with the unwilling

  7. watchfuleyes says:

    @watcher- this government did not bend over backwards for anyone!!- if you will remember before the storms the unions were the ones crying out that government was not willing to meet with them- the unions are always willing to sit down to the table. that is the nature of their job, if you think about it. I think government thought that they would just roll out this Reform Bill and no one would say anything- I think you have it wrong- we the people are the ones bending over backwards and gave up our pay to help get this island back on track- to date we don’t know how much money Govt has saved due to our sacrifice, if anything at all- Why do the unions have to threaten industrial action before they are heard anyway? I will tell you why because if they don’t they are not included at the table, when they represent a major part of the working population. So they will continue to cry out and complain when they are not included in the process!

    • jt says:

      “We the people”?

      • Kunta says:

        We the people who have been fighting for Equal Rights and Justice for 400 years !!!!!!!!!!!!

        • hmmm says:

          Wow you must be really old

          • Kunta says:

            Hey Dreamer, its de Legacy and Heritage of the People, just like de Legacy and Heritage of de Oligarchy is still in operation.

        • Creamy says:

          If you want equal rights, that mean 8 days sick, 4 weeks vacation, and you get fired if you don’t do a useful job. That is equality with the rest of us.

    • watcher says:

      exactly how much consultation and sitting around tables did the unions do before they held the island hostage on several occasions this year? Seems to most of us its been strike first and demand you get your own way later.

      • Kunta says:

        How many times did the OBA/UBP Govt. consult with de people before legislating and implementing their antiBermudian Campaign
        Seems to most of us it’s been I don’t care what you think I’m gonna do what I want and ” What a waste of F@#&img film”
        LMFAO

        • Creamy says:

          Um, there was an election, dumbo.

        • Unbelievable says:

          I’d really like to know what Anti-Bermudian legislation was passed.

          Oh that’s right…..there hasn’t been any.

  8. Elaine Faber says:

    @JT

    Some questions are just plain vacuous, and yours is one of them.

    The UBP taught Bermudians well, think of your mortgage, the roof over your head before anything or anyone else.

    We are all in this together? No, we are not, YOU do not pay my mortgage. The harsh reality is that when asked to self-sacrifice, not one of YOU have led by example and neither shall we.

  9. Get it done says:

    The easiest first step for the unions and civil servants to show good will to the taxpayers of Bermuda who are paying their salaries is to agree to bring their benefits in line with the private sector and /or the employment act. Three vacations instead of six, 8 sick days instead of 10 weeks. Pretty obvious and basic stuff. It will be very interesting to see if the civil servants and unions really and truly believe that they are on board “that something needs to be done about Bermuda’s debt”

  10. This is all well and good…and this is fine…agreeable….so on…and so forth…pip pip…cheerio…nudge nudge n’all that whot? How so evah…we should now reduce sensless expediture by privatising govt. install a one party govt. thow the remainder aside…one party…idevidual representation…half the mps …fifty%reduction in cost.Continued;-

  11. arthur conan doyle says:

    Disappointing news as it effectively, whatever spin you put on it, means Govt has given into the unions.
    There is also something very crucial missing here: there is no timetable.

    • 2 paths says:

      The whole reason the Bill is still being drafted is to safeguard against the Union’s favourite tactic of pretend negotiation that is simply used to delay and delay and delay.

      • SMH says:

        I think “delay, delay, delay” is the mantra of the entire civil service. Their main job seems to be telling taxpayer why something can’t be done….never “here’s a solution”.

  12. ignor this….go ahead…i dare you…

  13. Voter says:

    The Trade Union Congress rules Bermuda.

    • SMH says:

      Not for long…methinks taxpayers will start getting angry at having to foot this unsustainable bunch at the expense of our children’s future much longer. Not everyone get 10 weeks of sick days and I for one am fed up with having to fund that type of selfishness

      • Creamy says:

        14 weeks of sick days actually, but your point remains correct.

        • SMH says:

          No??? 14 weeks sick leave?? What a collosal joke that is even 2 weeks is way more than most people get.