Minister: ‘Furlough Has Saved Public Sector Jobs’

January 27, 2015

[Updated] “The furlough has saved a lot of public sector jobs, and that’s the one thing that they’re objecting to,” Finance Minister Bob Richards said at today’s [Jan 27] press conference.

Minister Richards added, “The situation, the financial situation that caused us to put the furlough in…hasn’t changed significantly. It’s improved somewhat, but we’re still in the hole.

“We just have to face reality here. So it’s ironic, wouldn’t you say, that the one thing that has saved their jobs, people find most objectionable.”

The Minister was speaking as the Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC] are holding their second consecutive day of meetings for all public service employees, with Union leaders pledging earlier today that they do not intend to leave the Cabinet Grounds under the furlough day is “off the table.”

For our live blog covering the BTUC/Govt dispute click here, and for all our coverage of the matter click here.

Update 5.10pm: 12-minute video of Premier Michael Dunkley’s remarks at the press conference

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  1. Tony says:

    Stand strong Government. There are many, many civil servants at work today who totally disagree with the stance the Unions are taking.

    • Long Bay Trading Co. says:

      Amen to Tony – there are many of us that do NOT agree with yesterday and today’s action by the Union, and the BTUC certainly do NOT SPEAK FOR ME.

      • college student says:

        there’s more than 1 way to skin a cat.

        what if gov’t decides to end the furlough days but give everyone a 10% pay cut across the board to retain jobs? the base pay than determines life insurance, pension contributions etc…so think of the snowball effect. pay reductions can be worse than working 1 less day a month.

        gov will probably increase all taxes on april 1. i see payroll tax jumping back to 16%, duty allowance changing back to $100, car registration fees increasing, etc. are we prepared? these gov income boosters would affect the entire community, with everyone having a part in reducing the deficit.

        we as individuals need to plan, we must be responsible for ourselves and dependants. a job nor tomorrow are not promised to anyone. i know many people affected by the furlough day who travel, wine and dine and shop more than most but they cry wolf when they realize they have not met their financial goals.

        questions everyone needs to ask themselves….how have i positioned myself in the job market? in life? do i need to buy a new car at 100% financing? do i need to be at the bar/hair salon every week?

        we need to get back to families supporting each other.

      • concerned ambassador says:

        Id like to start out by saying thank you to Premier Dunkley and Mr. Richards, there are a lot of us out here in the private sector that do understand and we get it.
        We know that you as the government have very difficult decisions to make in order to have a government that is sustainable and benefits everyone in the country, not just the 5000 staff you employ.
        It is very unfortunate that we find ourselves in this position that government workers have to take furlough days, but out here in the real world that’s just a part of life. I as a taxi driver have to put in 12 to 14 hours a day this time of year to make a living wage that probably still doesn’t come close to a comparable civil servants wage not to mention benefits and I’m not alone. There are many of us in the private sector ie. hotels, restaurants and even retail that are and have been for a very long time dealing with layoffs, furlough days and even job cuts, so we don’t understand why the government workers feel that they are above this thing called reality! I think it is very selfish of them to think that they don’t have to continue to pull their weight until we are out of this mess. After all they have been the recipients of some pay packages and benefits that a lot of us in the private sector are still mystified over!
        So I personally would like to thank you for taking the bull by the horns and dealing with this monster that has been created called the civil service. The bottom line is that the civil service is over staffed, and it is putting a lot of stress on the rest of the community.
        To the civil servants, I appreciate the job that you do and I don’t want to see any of you laid off. Please take the furlough, its not the end of the world!

  2. SMH says:

    Well said Bob. The unions are shooting their own members in the foot. I wish he had gone further and asked how the union members felt about the fact that union leaders did NOT take a furlough day but instead got a double digit increase in union dues. Fair?

    • hmmm says:

      but the union Leaders are special ….. (SMDH)

    • Capt T says:

      FYI the BIU staff and leadership have been on furlough since the government workers went on it. You might want to check your facts before writing on a public forum.

      • SMH says:

        So they don’t work that day but they in fact stil got a 16% raise so NO effectively they HAVEN’T taken a furlough day (pay cut). Wake up man, your being played!

  3. NCM says:

    IF BTUC won’t accept furlough days, and another $30 odd million in savings is needed – an easy solution = fire 500 Government workers, average salary $71,000 = $35.5 million saved. Bob’s your uncle.

    • Draco says:

      Well NCM if govenment can just say that is what is need more it would be a big help. Last I heard is nothing from government to say they need XYZ more just saying give me more hence, the stand off.

      • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

        They’ve been discussing it with the union group, haven’t they discussed it with their memberships?

      • Not exactly says:

        The figures have most certainly been shared. Last year 7% needed to be cut from Govt spending, this year a further 5% and next year another 3%. Last year the furlough day provided approx $18M towards the total cut amount. If this year furlough is not included then that $18M needs to be found somewhere else and in addition to the additional things that new cuts that are needed for 2015/16 fiscal year. Where is it going come from? Let’s assume job cuts are off the table so what is it going to be? Middle management and senior civil servants take pay cuts in solidarity with those making less? Police and prison officers start copaying their insurance? Civil servants start paying more towards their pensions? Services cannot be cut without affecting employment and privatization seems equally unpopular. The unions seem to believe that the harsh economic reality this country faces can be shouted away and that the private sector should be the only ones sacrificing. Do you know anyone unemployed? Ask yourself if they used to work for Govt or a private company? Short hours and layoffs have been happening in the private sector for years and those left employed cannot receive any tax breaks because they need to maintain a bloated civil service that is barely sharing the country’s sacrifice.

  4. Jus' Askin' says:

    Did it really though?

  5. Frank says:

    Let me just clarify one thing here – the BPSU leadership never asked its members if we objected to the continuance of furlough days beyond March 31st 2015(did the BIU or BUT for that matter?). In 2013 we voted on the proposed acceptance of the furlough days proposal, now its Jan. 2015 no such consensus has been sought – so who is being deceitful to who BPSU? What mandate do you have from the membership to refuse acceptance of continued furlough days – we never gave you that mandate!

    • Raw Onion says:

      Same thing I was wondering. As a BPSU member,I have yet to hear anything from my union asking if we want to continue the furlough days. I do understand that a timeline was agreed upon that ended in March of this year but hey, things change so why did they not ask membership again?

      • @Raw Onion & Frank…It is obvious by the number of people in attendence that the union is almost 100% supported by it’s members.

        If they back down and agree now they might as well get use to this negociation becoming a definite permanent factor in their bargaining chip.

        Has Government produced any evidence as to where this money is actually being spent?

        • hmmm says:

          No they were fooled into going for a meeting. then told to march.

          Less there today

        • Guest27 says:

          The money is not going to be spent. It’s money that we do not have to spend. The country is running a budget deficit!

        • Creamy says:

          So why don’t they hold a private ballot on the issue, rather than holding the country to ransom?

    • lifeblood says:

      That’s a really good observation…

  6. Toodle-oo says:

    They find it objectionable because they simply don’t understand the connection between the two things .

    And if they don’t understand that , well then , what can I say ?

    Another thing that has to stop is the myth that they’re being picked on to make sacrifices that no-one else is having to.

    A very large percentage of private sector workers (more than the total membership of the unions) have had their backsides shredded since 2007.
    The 5-6000 job losses is just the tip of the iceberg .

    • Concerned says:

      If you believe that the only ones who are suffering are the Public Services why don’t you ask the 3000+ Private workers who do jot currently work or are unemployed. Maybe some of them would want a chance to work in the Public sector where it appears NO ONE HAS LOST THEIR JOBS!!!!

  7. Suggestion Box says:

    I am so confused about the current standoff. From what I can gather, the savings from the furlough days allowed the Government to avoid any layoffs of staff during this past financial year. If there are no furlough days then the logical conclusion is there will be layoffs. Is that what the BTUC want? Is the BTUC really acting in the best interest of its members? The Government cannot pay its bills and needs to find many ways to reduce spending and is trying to save jobs with continuing the furlough days.

  8. Mark O says:

    The Government must stand strong on this fundamental issue so that more jobs are not lost and the economy can improve.

  9. Just a matter of time says:

    And there it is. it”s now confirmed that all cost savings are solely on the backs of the civil servants. No other cost savings measures are good enough (or easy enough) to pursue despite the union’s efforts and it appears the Govt are willing to let havoc happen as a result. Smh. Btw, Min Richards is not the best negotiator and is very condescending stoking the fires even more. This impasse needs to end now.

    • Sad says:

      You re mistaken my friend.

      The govt agreed to institute the $37mn in possible cost savings put forward by the unions.

      However, that is still short of the agreed upon $67mn.

      The continuing of the furlough day will make up the difference.

      Not saying I am for or against it, but that is the reality of the situation.

    • inna says:

      When 0.60 cents of every 1.00 earned goes straight to personnel costs, then yes, something needs to be corrected. That leaves a meager 0.40c to educate our children, provide HIP and pensions to seniors, as well as pay down the debt. In actual fact, government has less than 0.40c to spend simply because they STILL spend more than they bring in!

      I think your impasse needs to end now. Nothing else. This havoc you speak of is being inflicted by your own members on your members. In next months budget, cuts will come. Whether it is 2 furlough days, a 10% reduction across the board, or redundancies.

  10. Truth Speaker says:

    extremely arrogant …wow

  11. Ann says:

    Stand strong OBA, many in the private sector are willing and able to lend a hand where needed!

    • Do not understand says:

      Ann, Please…. if the private sector is willing, why do they ask/accept tax dedutions.

      If they are so willing, get together and pink up. Having the teachers take furlough days means that the children have to suffer. That is Government school children not private, where the majority of the private sector have their children.

      • hmmm says:

        I’ve not got a tax deduction ! Only the reduced pay, so proportionately let tax.

      • Ann says:

        I already pay payroll tax to the Government with no deductions, if you are referring to the hotels, if they were not putting money into our economy, there would be way more people out of work. How much holiday and sick pay to some union workers receive, I can guan tee it is way more than the private sector. When I said the private sector would help, I was referring to truckers and landscapers and private buses that would be thrilled for extra work, and guess what they don’t make double time. Teach your children the value of an education, and how to stand on their own rather than always expecting a Government to look after you. The teachers have had a choice this week, they chose not to educate the children, as so far this week they have lost 2 days pay. I stand 100% behind the OBA, the previous Government spent all the funds they could get there hands on, this Government is trying to get us back on track, but it will take time. Thankfully, I believe we live in a country with many intelligent people whom understand this, and I bet half the people marching today, really would rather be working, but unions are bully’s, and you have to follow, So Sad.

    • wow says:

      Well create jobs then!! That’s how you can help. Hire more people.

    • Um Jus Sayin says:

      The private sector can also help by not accepting the tax breaks you receive, and give part of your millions in profit, you so readily brag about, back to the govt. I find it ridiculous that all you nay sayers who have never walked a minute in any of our shoes are sooo quick to put us down. All we want is to stop living paycheck to paycheck, and these furlough days are not the answer. When is govt going to start taking a furlough day or paycut? Not one of those cabinet ministers have ever had to struggle, especially not dunkley! He doesnt know what it takes to make ends meet, his ends overlap.

      • hmmm says:

        You’ll find that Multinatonal companies give millions upon millions to help support Bermuda and the economy.

        Life is a struggle for everyone. What makes you so special !

  12. Bestford says:

    In the interest of shared sacrifice surely the Government and Opposition
    MPs should take a further reduction in salary to demonstrate their recognition of the necessity for all government employees to participate in any austerity measures.

  13. Tolerate says:

    Not to disagree with Just a matter of time and Truth Speaker; but Min. Richards is very direct and mostly to the point. He reminds me a bit of Min. Burch. Don’t shot the messenger for how the message is delivered; understand the message. This is NOT an easy situation for anybody be it Government or government workers, but this constant finger pointing and comparisons between Public and Private workers will only divide this Island further. ALL employees are taking a beating. It’s not about us and them; it’s about ALL Bermudians (and for understanding, ALL encompasses just that, ALL Bermudians).
    I know it’s the job of the Union Leaders to represent their union members; but it is also the job of the Government to represent Bermuda.
    And that Bermuda includes unionized and non-unionized workers.

    Think about it….

  14. Couch Sailor says:

    Make sure whoever defies the union and returns to work is guaranteed their job, and broadcast it. The last 500 to return loose their jobs. Simple

  15. Onion Soup says:

    I suspect that the union heads really do want the furloughs to stop, but not for the reasons they give…that they are “protecting” their members from further financial hardship. If the Government is then forced to reduce the number of civil servants by a substantial number (which would likely happen, given the financial condition of the country), then they raise a hue and cry about how evil the current Government is and pump up the opposition when the next election is called. There are enough damned fools around to fall for it, that’s for sure.

    • Unbelievable says:

      If ANYONE thinks that the PLP will re-instate any fired Govt workers if the PLP wins the next election, then they are DREAMING. That means the PLP is going to have to clean up their own mess and we all know that’s impossible.

  16. YOUNG BERMUDIAN!!!! says:

    Something is really wrong with you damm people, you alls must be rich because only the rich and stupid seem to have a problem with what is really going on today. This is why Bermuda/ians will always have issues because we cant stand together and support each other. This situation is a lot deeper than what some people see. I am glad that my people are sticking together on this because how would you feel if $800 -$1000 was taken out of your house hold(and you already struggling)and you have to pay mortage, utilties, school fees and still feed children and maintain eveything else. especially if you are a single parent. do you know how hard it is to keep your head above water making little money as it is and then for somebody to tell you they are taking more from you. ya gotta be joking!!! its time that people stand for whats right because people are tired and disgusted with their(OBA/PLP) bullcrap excuses about staying out of debt but not one of they **** have said they will take a farlough day with their civil servents. This really is a sad sitution but its definately time for change in this island and it will effect everyone, but it will hopefully be for the better in the end. IF YOU DONT STAND FOR SOMETHING YOU WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING!!!

    • hmmm says:

      You make ends meet, you go without and you survive…that’s what I had to do. You work your self in multiple jobs in college to support an education that hopefully will provide you with more opportunities in the future. That’s what i did.

      At the moment Govt can’t pay everyone. So either people continue with furlough days and have a job for all, or lose 500 jobs.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      Not rich.
      Not a boss, does not have a high paying job
      Have worked my entire life.
      Have had my pay cut so others could keep their jobs too.
      No one is asking anyone to give up more, they’re saying they need them to continue with the way things have been for the last year, or coworkers who are likely friends and family, or they may lose their jobs.
      No one is being asked to do anything that a lot of us haven’t already done. And we’re annoyed, not because we’re rich, but because we see a bunch of people who get paid because of our hard work and cash unwilling to share the burden with the rest of us.

      Why should I, or anyone else, continue to give money to people who are so darned ungrateful and selfish.

      • Truth (Original) says:

        Who are referring too? Who is getting paid because of your hard work?

    • 32n64w says:

      $1,000 less income per annum is significantly less than the average private sector employee has given up, year after year. MPs already reduced their salaries by 10%.

      The largest Government expense (60% of annual expenditures) are salaries and related costs so doesn’t it seem logical that taxpayer savings should include reductions?

    • Madhatter says:

      $800-$1000 is what a days wage is for public workers? Cause that what the furlough option is…one day off unpaid.

      I think not. And if it is, then no wonder we are broke!

    • Guest27 says:

      I haven’t met too many people that are both rich and stupid. Just food for thought. Also, if a CS is making $800 – $1,000 take-home pay for one day’s work as you suggest then they are not struggling. You’re over-inflating the issue.

      But I’m glad that “your people” are sticking together. Whomever they may be.

  17. Just a matter of time says:

    @ Tolerate. I certainly agree with everything you said except about Min Richards. He has frequently established himself as arrogant and condescending often quoting that people don’t understand like we’re idiots. And that’s the reputation he has now. That type of mannerism is not needed in this current powder keg climate.

    • hmmm says:

      No he hasn’t. He has been straight and to the point.

      Not much flowery talk.

      He is not trying to dress it up to make it pretty, he is telling it like it is, so there is no confusion.

      Do you want flowers or reality?.

    • North Rock says:

      And that’s important…why ???You can have an opinion and you can say that lots of people think the same way…so what ? The man is the running the economy of Bermuda…not a popularity contest.

      Look, I’m not sure that he’s as arrogant as much as he’s a know it all but he does know what he’s doing and he’s leading a team who are making the demands for all the right reasons. All this fluff you like to talk about – respect and tolerance and making the union feel good – is a pile of fluff. When Chris F sucks his teeth and makes like he’s some special god in the eyes of his followers…that doesn’t solve one damn thing.

      I work in the private sector and I dont make much more than a decent civil servants salary. I am held accountable and I havent had an increase in remuneration (honest to Gods truth…) for 5 years. You think this is all on the Civil Service….really ???Ask and listen…and learn

      • Madhatter says:

        My pay has been frozen since 2009! It sucks, but it is what is for now unfortunately.

  18. SMH says:

    WHY isn’t Minister Richards saying that had we not had the $20M cost over runs on Port Royal or built Grand Atlantic, we wouldn’t be needing these furlough days. WHY? Tell it like it is. The PLP are playing you like a violin, they are blaming the Gov. for having to this when they’re the real reason in the first place

  19. Bermyman says:

    80% of government revenues go to paying Civil Service wages that leaves a meagre 20% to fund infrastructure including financial services, govt housing, seniors, roads, airport, regiment etc. and the list goes on. This is the simple economic fact that we do not have enough to pay the piper, the PLP pushed us in to unsustainable debt in order to give civil servants false hopes and overpaid jobs. In short the created a false middle class which was unsustainable and now we face the fallout. The reality bites those who understand it the least, the unions and the PLP know this, they would rather an economic and social collapse than a consensus between workers and the Government. The Unions must be held to task, let them strike until the good tax paying citizens of this Island have had enough.

    REMEMBER PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS WORK FOR THE PUBLIC! NOT FOR THEMSELVES!

    • social media says:

      when they have enough what would they do, absolutely nothing but type on the internet you could protest also why don’t you protest against the protesters

  20. cromwell says:

    Maybe its time for government in the name of transparency and understanding of the financial crisis to disclose the individual salaries earned by the civil servants and their retirement benefits.

  21. boss says:

    The simple truth is that all workers have not been asked to make meaningful contributions to reduce our debt. The simple truth is that government workers did not create the financial mess that we currently experience, yet they have been asked to suffer on their own.

    However, if Bob wants to find money he need not look any further than those government workers on work permits. I am reasonably certain that it is in the region of 20% of the govt workforce. In short, there is lots of gold that can be removed from dem hills.

    If not, why not??????????

    • hmmm says:

      Noone is aking workers to sacrifice on their own, we are all sacrificing and have all suffered…what is it that you don’t understand here.

      ps

      What pays your salary ? Debt and Taxpayers.

    • Bermyman says:

      Govt workers have been asked to suffer on their own!?

      We have had a reduction thousands of private sector jobs in the last 6 years.!? What planet do these people think they are on!

      Simple truth. Private sector tax pays government wages.

      Private sector workers= +1 economically.

      Public sector workers = -2 economically. (currently)

      1-2 = compounding public debt = financial instability and eventually economic collapse.

      WHO IS ON THEIR OWN IN THIS SCENARIO!?

    • Concerned says:

      If you believe that the only ones who are suffering are the Public Services why don’t you ask the 3000+ Private workers who do jot currently work or are unemployed. Maybe some of them would want a chance to work in the Public sector where it appears NO ONE HAS LOST THEIR JOBS!!!!

  22. change says:

    i hope u got the change u were looking for when u voted for these fools. I thought they were gona make 2000 jobs not fire 2000 people

    • hmmm says:

      What would the PLP have done ? …they could not arrest the slide.

      Spell it out please.

  23. Sky Pilot says:

    The Unions in Bermuda are Dinosaurs and like Dinosaurs,they too will die.
    Sooner or later people will figure out the Union Bosses are only interested in getting your money each week.
    Wise Up or Lose Out!

  24. swing voter says:

    does the bda govt employ more than they need? The private sector doesn’t struggle with this question. the government needs to sit down and evaluate each ministry, each department, each consultant, each employee. Then use the collective bargaining agreement to determine what they should do. you are the OBA government, lead or hand the reigns back to the PLP to finish what they started

  25. No longer a member says:

    I am no longer a member of any party! But what is best for Bermuda should be concidered. The PLP sold us out and everyone has to now pay. Unfortunately, majority of their supporters and former supporters are suffering the most. Why can’t a tire situation be intituted. All Government workers earning $150,000 + take a 10% cut in pay, $100,000 to 150,000 8% cut, $80,000 to $100,000 6% cut, $50,000 to $80,000 4%, and anyone under $50,000 nothing because they need to pay bills like everyone else. In the private sector onyone making $150,000 + $50 a week to a special fund to pay down the countries debt, $100,000 to 150,000 $40 a week and so on and so on……. The member of Parliment, all Government MP’s should take a 10% deduction and all PLP MP’s 20% due to putting the country in this mess. The money has to be going on the debt and nothing else, and once the debt is at a level that the public sector can handle slowly remove this yoke from the people. Hope ones that are taking the lead on this can understand what this suggestion being made is fair to all concerned.

    • Sweetdreams says:

      Thats a good idea…POST IT ON FB. But sweetie PLP didn’t put us in this Financial bind. There was a world ressession and unfortunately Bermuda got affected because of it. The PLP were in office at the time. If you don’t believe me go and do a bit of research. The OBA and all their followers would have you believe differently. MY HUSBAND ALWAYS SAYS. IF YOU SAY SOMETHING ENOUGH PEOPLE START TO BELIEVE IT.

      • Madhatter says:

        The downturn hurt the job prospects most definitely on our island.

        But in no way did it create the massive deficits and resulting debt in the mid to late 2000s of our govt finances. Revenue increased over that period but was far outstripped by expenditure. It didn’t cause hundreds of millions of overruns in capital projects or beefing up the civil service by another 1,000 heads and by extension govt payroll. It didn’t cause consecutive qualified audits and no audits at all of our pensions. That was all our doing. I feel bad for the workers cause in no way is it their fault. Blame lies squarely with local politicians.

      • Guest27 says:

        @Sweetdreams

        Wow how out of touch with reality are you? “The PLP didn’t put us in this fiancial bind”. Really? Oh, how terribly sorry I feel for you. Such a blind little sheep.

    • Guest27 says:

      That is not a bad idea.

      Except I’m pretty sure that under Union rules that is illegal. You must remember that part of Unionization is that you are no longer treated as an individual. What’s good for one is good for all (basically Socialism). That also means that you can’t discriminate against a fellow union member based on pay or position. Remember we are all “Brothers & Sisters” within the Union.

      Beyond that you cannot legally further tax the private sector along those lines. Especially considering that PS employees do not have the same “guarantees” of employment as union members do.

      But I give you much respect for adding positive ideals to the conversation!

      • PBanks says:

        I said something similar to my wife last night when she raised the idea of scaling paycuts or only giving furlough days to people making above some threshold salary.

        That this likely wouldn’t fall within union guidelines. But maybe there’s a chance ideas like this could be brought to the discussion table.

  26. ImJustSayin says:

    the lying deceitful statements by the minister does not explain where the money is going. Therefore one can only come to the conclusion the minister has something to hide..

    • Guest27 says:

      You are a silly fellow. Please explain the “lying” statements made by the Minister. Please oh please, I would love to hear a VALID argument!

      I’m really sick and tired of listening to ignorant whiners that don’t know their arses from their elbows!

      Facts please…!

  27. Just a matter of time says:

    @ No longer a member. I think you’re on to something and I really like the idea of some type of collective contribution from all workers using a well thought out sliding scale which is fair and specifically targeted to pull down the debt. Maybe use some formula to create partial rebates of these contributions to Belco, groceries, etc Create another type of sinking fund earning interest, invested, etc. Surely that would look good to the overseas creditors. This is definitely worth investigating and pursuing. Unfortunately, the vision is currently not there at the moment and the fixation to squeeze the civil servants is the OBA’s sole focus right now. Also other cost savings must be pursued in order to get public buy in. I really like it though.

    • Creamy says:

      How exactly will belco rebates and grocery rebates “pull down the debt”? Complete nonsense.
      You think money just comes out of thin air don’t you.

  28. Lovemyisland says:

    As a member of the Union I disagree with how they have handled this situation. We were asked to meet assuming we would be voting on what was negotiated between the Union and the committee but no, that was not their plan. Instead we were ordered to gather with the intention of marching on the Cabinet House, they planned this and as a member I felt blind sighted and angered. The way they spoke at the meeting gave me the sense that they want a fight, they want to make history and they will go to great lengths to achieve this. Why they would want a repeat of 1981 which destroyed our tourism industry for years. It still has not fully recovered. They continue to manipulate the truth and refuse to listen to reason. We have to understand the reasons behind this decision the government has made, if we do not take the furlough days they will have to cut jobs because of the fact that we are in debt, not that they want to but because they have to. This whole situation is sad and so misunderstood. Praying for positive changes!

    Also I’m not even sure why Rev. Tweed was present at this meeting? His words/prayer was not helpful, it was disrespectful and definitely not God honouring! He compared the Government to the Pharaoh during the days of Joseph in the Old Testament…what!!?? Please Sir, calm down!

  29. Observer says:

    Only 4 months of the year they are able to cover the spending costs of the government so the other 8 months is all borrowed money, no one wants to sacrifice for the financial stability of the island.Would they prefer for the government to go cut jobs of civil servants instead of a furlough?

    • Axelrod says:

      Yes, job cuts are needed. Roughly 800 to 900. That is not a lot in the scheme of things.These people, many are school teachers, can retrain for new careers and govt can help them do that. We must make the cuts now….or the Island’s economy will collapse. OUr debt to GDP will be at 100% in 6 years at the current pace of debt accumulation. That will send the Bermuda dollar to 50 cent to the USD and a loaf of bread will cost $21!!! Enjoy that with your stupid furlough days!

  30. Mary S. says:

    As a young adult it saddens me to see so much name calling, finger pointing, blaming, and negativity toward one another when all of us are in the same boat and should be trying to work together to get that boat, Bermuda, bailed out and back afloat.

    All of the workers on the Island are feeling the effects of the economic and financial situation that has been going on for several years. Unfortunately not everyone on the Island who receives a salary is sharing in the responsibility of trying to help alleviate the problem. At times it appears that we’re being told we must cut unnecessary spending and workers have to take pay freezes/cuts/furlough days, while money is being spent on things that will not benefit Bermuda financially for the long term.

    Perhaps if we implement some combination of the suggestions mentioned about sharing the financial burden across the board, devise a realistic plan to pay down the debt with short and long term goals over a specified time period, and implement long term development/income ideas for government in addition to the short term financial benefits, that would be the catalyst for getting us out of the financial debt we’re in.

    I am willing to help alleviate my portion of the debt by paying for a student term bus pass with the tips I get from bagging groceries. It probably wouldn’t make a difference on its own, but pennies do add up to dollars.

    I have two questions about the furlough day that I hope someone from government can answer. If a furlough day is supposed to be an unpaid unworked day:

    1. Why did some departments call in workers on their day off to cover the work of people on their furlough day, and

    2. How did the furlough day save money in those departments

  31. Skink says:

    Oh how the P.L.P. have screwed us and blinded so many……. non of the usual termites have come out of the woodwork whilst chewing away at the beautiful masterpiece we call home…… they didn’t even leave us a ******** tip……. just leaving us to rot like dead wood!!!……. don’t even DARE to come round my gates at next ELECTION time cousins coz I’m going to be doing some chewing of my own and you won’t have a head left when I’m finished……

  32. Prayerful says:

    I think that almost every family in Bermuda has been affected by Private Sector redundancies, mine certainly has. My daughter was called into a meeting and asked to leave the premises immediately, after 14 years of sterling service. No offer another position, even thought her firm was advertising for staff.

    However, Mr. Richard’s attitude is thoroughly unacceptable. His arrogance is unbearable.

    I was proud of Mr. Furbert’s demeanour on the show “Let’s Talk”. He stated the facts and had all of the statistics at hsnd. Mr. Hayward equally held himself with dignity.

    To reiterate what the people are saying, there seems to be no concern for the people by the OBA

  33. Axelrod says:

    Union Reps performance on Let’s Talk was poor, but performance of Fin Minister Richards and Premier was AWEFUL! Still speaking in public with tiny pieces of paper trying to convey complex ideas through simple visual media…simply poor. Still trying to talk past all the noise….aweful performance!

    Complex information like the breakdown of expenditures in a budget require dynamic media like a powerpoint presentation on a website or on a cable channel running 24/7. OBA communications strategy is terrible and poor! the communications director for govt….That person need to fired first and foremost!

    OBA has brought this on themselves due their duplicitous and conflicted position in government. They came into government saying that spending and debt was the problem and still to this day they continue to make borrowing money and spending their priority instead of making the needed cuts needed to make our govt. sustainable for the long term. They simply have shown no will to cut expenditure and stop borrowing. The ageing population of the next 4 years will wipe out the fake budget savings of furloughs!

    OBA must cut spending. but not by attack the 5,000 employees of Govt by trying to cut all incomes at one time…..creates too many enemies. Instead start this year with education and close redundant primary schools and fired redundant teachers. Then next year it is health care, then the year after that is the police force, then the year after that is gov’t works pensions and health care benefits. You canot cut by simply saying that 5,000 people is too much and we need to cut by X! You must cut by program, department, benefit, and service!!!!!

    Where is your strategy OBA…..you look soooooo dumb to all educated Bermudians right now!