Live Updates: Government & Union Dispute

January 29, 2015

[Updating on Thursday] The Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC] — which is made up of the island’s various trade unions including the BIU, BPSU and BUT — held urgent meetings for all public service employees on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. All public schools will be open today [Thurs, Jan 29], and bus and and ferry service will resume.

Summary Of Key Points As Of 7am On Thurs Jan 29

  • All public schools will be open today [Thurs, Jan 29]
  • Bus and ferry service to resume today
  • Dispute centered around the furlough days for Govt. workers
  • BTUC members gathered Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Union & Govt held a meeting lat night seeking to find additional savings needed in the budget
  • Union & Govt both said furlough days will “only be considered as a last resort”
  • We had to close comments on this one article due to extreme traffic load, our apologies for this, however all other articles [link] about this dispute have comments open.

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  1. obasellouts says:

    3 days or
    10 percent or
    500 workers fired

    this is what`s coming from the oba

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      If you want to play the blame game for it reaching this current issue, try to remember what the Civil Service size was in ’98, when the PLP said it was bloated and inefficient, and campaigned that they would trim it down and make it more efficient. 14 years later and it was doubled and less efficient, ballooned to an operating cost that was running at a deficit even when there was full employment to cover the payroll. Tell me, how much of an issue do you think we would have right now if the PLP had kept their promise then.

      • Tough Love says:

        Why do people act like governments aren’t usually one of if not the biggest employers in their country? Where have we gotten this idea that government should have 5 people running everything? We aren’t republicans, though the OBA operates as so, therefore this conservative spending where the government is trying to shrink spending and revenues (airport) will not work. Bermuda can operate in a deficit for a little while longer. Don’t believe the hype. Many other profitable countries have deficits and we are acting like we will die if we are $1 dollar over budget. Bermuda is a country, not a for profit business! When will the OBA stops treating Bermuda’s people like they are just a means to an end?!?

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          Many other countries that operate on deficits have industrial bases to support this. Bermuda does not, the only local based industry is tourism… how many tourism based economies do you see that are able to maintain a developed nation standard of living even close to what Bermuda has?? prior to OBA being left to make the tough call on this issue, our deficit was spiralling to the point where we would not have been able to service the debt that was created, that was not an illusion and anybody that told you so was selling you a fantasy, but hey if that is what you are interested in, I am sure there is a Nigerian prince who has a million dollars to sell you for only $1000

          • Tough Love says:

            Could have sworn that International Business was our main industry, but if tourism is all we have then I see your point. Since it isn’t all we have, I disagree.

            • Build a Better Bermuda says:

              You missed the point, we are reliant on IB, but it is not a locally supported industry, it is an industry we have imported, the only local based industry that we have is tourism. Other countries that run on deficits have actual local based industries like manufactures, textiles, agriculture… and these industries produce exportable items that import monies, that offset the items their economies import, thus exporting monies.
              Tourism is the only thing we produce, we do not produce IB.

              • HeyBye says:

                What little tourism we have is now in jeopardy with Cuba opening up to Americans.
                We are in a right mess. Bermuda’s golden days I am afraid are gone forever.

            • Main Industry? says:

              I think the important thing to remember about International Business is that it can leave the island whenever it wants to. Tourism can’t.

              • wow says:

                Given the fact, IB can get up and leave whenever they want, this might just be the beginning of the end for Bermuda. Unemployment and our national debt keeps rising and the GDP keeps falling. More cuts won’t stimulate the economy. We have no native industry aside from Tourism which has been in a decline for the last 20 years. We need as much help as we can get. The economic outlook doesn’t show much growth either.

                • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                  It is important to note that currently the government isn’t proposing any cuts, it is doing what it can to keep as many employed as possible. As the furough day is already in effect, it would not be a further cut, they are asking the public sector to continue with the furlough day policy.
                  None of this is being driven to stimulate the economy, it is being done to reign in governments operating cost, for which payroll accounts for over 50% of. If the deficit cannot be reigned in, then borrowing will exceed our ability to pay back and we will end in bankruptcy on a national scale.
                  Take note, the government isn’t in debt by over $2b… we are, each person of this country. Those monthly payments that governement has to make to service the current are payment we are liable for. Think of what that money could be doing for the community if it didn’t have to go out of the island…

                  • Unearthed says:

                    The government isn’t paying off the debt anytime soon and probably won’t for the foreseeable future . They need about $220 million to make a small surplus before they can then begin to start reducing the 2.5 billion . We need to unite and come together collectively to create ideas and to explore all of our options. These politicians can’t do it on their own especially not the crop that we have today. We have some very smart people in this island. Just like the quote on the BIU flag states, “United we Stand Divided we Fall”.

                    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                      This immediate goal of the government exercise isn’t to completely payoff the debt, it is to eliminate the deficit. So long as we have a deficit, we will continually need to borrow to pay off our debt, thus incurring further debt. If we can eliminate the deficit, we can paying off the debt on our own, eventually achieving a financial independence we haven’t had in a long time.

                  • what... says:

                    “Take note, the government isn’t in debt by over $2b… we are, each person of this country.” yup…. at about 39K each and growing

                    • BETTTY TRUMP says:

                      WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED…. NO CLICKS OF DISLIKE SHALL MOVE US EITHER…..

                      WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED…..

                      We’re brothers together
                      We shall not be moved
                      We’re brothers together
                      We shall not be moved
                      Just like a tree that’s standing by the water side
                      We shall not be moved

                      KEEP STANDING TOGETHER BROTHERS AND SISTERS….no fight is without a struggle…. we shall stand….

                    • Guest27 says:

                      Nope keep going. You forgot the two underfunded pension plans. That’s another $1 Billion plus.

            • moonbeam says:

              International Business WAS our main industry until the PLP kicked them all out !

              • BETTTY TRUMP says:

                Today was a huge statement by the people of Bermuda.

                Well done Workers for standing as one and in Unity.

                “It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all bear the union label.”

                Barack Obama

                Workers it is only via unity that much can be achieved and accomplished for us and more so future generations.

                Well done Workers, Well Done !!

                • BETTTY TRUMP says:

                  It was a beautiful site today, to see a sea of people all standing for the same thing. Standing strong and together….this is it….

                  “The strength of the movement is still something that you will never see on camera, because it doesn’t happen at the big protests. But the strength of this movement is rooted in the strength of its components and of the campaigns of its components. So there are farm movements around the world; there are environmental movements around the world; labor movements around the world involved in daily struggles around living wages, around protecting the rights of farmers to their seeds, and so on. Those struggles continue on a daily basis; they have not gone away.”
                  – John Cavanagh

                  Lets keep moving from strength to strength, it will not be easy, but it can be won !!

                  Great Day , Great Day !!!!

                  • Guest27 says:

                    I want to see you write Great Day, Great Day when some of those CS’s get axed because the group wouldn’t continue with one Furlough Day and the government can’t borrow any more money to pay saleries.

                  • hmmm says:

                    I’ve read posts that unions aren’t acting upon their memberships vote. They are effectively wildcat striking, yet less people there today than yesterday.

                    if unions won’t budge on furlough days, it means job cuts . Perhaps those that aren’t there today realize that union will cause cuts, so they are showing up to work to ensure they are less likely to be cut.

                    • Animal Lover says:

                      Totally agree. It is horrible that payroll has to be cut but I would far rather that than lose my job. If only these people can come together like this to make Bermuda a better place. Put this energy to better use.

                  • Codfish and Potatoes says:

                    Some say it is a beautiful day because the PLP supporters are sticking one to the OBA government.

                    I wonder where the PLP supporters will be when many of these people have no jobs (and no prospects for getting one due to their pitifully inadequate skills).Remember it is cheaper to pay social benefits that full time wages to people who would rather sit on Cabinet grounds than work.

                    This is not a struggle against tyranny nor is it a fight for freedom. This is a fight for money and jobs against a world economy that is in disarray. Some of this is caused by the very same PLP politicians and their supporters.

              • Uncle Bob says:

                Tourism was too until UBP chased all them out!!!

                • Tired says:

                  No sweet love it was PLP that chased them out!!! Do you even know why most stopped coming, are you in the industry? Who was in power when Hsbc took over and took away Triminghams who was in power when they authorized so many huge cruise ships? I’m just saying!!

                  • Sickofantz says:

                    It was on the way out by then anyway. Bermuda is tired old fashioned and not good value for money for most tourists.

          • DWEP says:

            So in consideration of Bermuda’s lack of developed industries, shouldn’t the OBA Government’s first priority been to establish which industries could be developed to provide jobs and economic stimulus. This could have been done in conjunction with plans for debt reduction and increasing efficiency. Yes it would mean some jobs would be lost but if the private sector benefited from the stimulus plan there would be more jobs to absorb those people. It is obvious that the OBA was not prepared to Govern and blaming previous administrations is not a solution to this countries problems. They have continually backed down from the promises they made without actually making an effort to find the solutions to stabilizing our economy. Even if they had delusions of what they would accomplish, certainly they’ve reached the point were it is now an URGENT requirement for them to actually formulate an plan for Bermuda and stop flying by the seat of their pants!

            • cole says:

              Which industries would those be? Make recommendations.

              We have limited natural resources and the highest labour costs on the planet, so export of manufactured goods will be limited in profitability.

              The “Blue Economy” ocean-based industries are not economically feasible, or else someone would be doing them already. There is nothing stopping deep sea mining or longlining from happening except an obvious lack of positive income to anyone who worked out the costs vs income.

              • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                Your mentions of these alternative industries is fairly close on, though I would dismiss them outright, their potential should be explored, but they certainly are not the miracle money maker the PLP would like to lead us to believe. Especially not when you have to measure the return on the expenditures in Bermuda’s economic/employment environment. New industries also need new legislative infrastructure to establish practice and financial regulations.
                Now we have focused much on the cuts that are needed for the operating cost, but we should also look to other ways for new revenues. Some have suggested taxing the rich, the folly of this is that weakens the foundations that make us attractive to those with money. Our single rate of payroll has an appeal in the simplicity it presents companies in calculating and handling monthly expenses. This is but a minor attraction, but creating tier rates would remove it. Adding further taxation to those with higher incomes also creates the obvious negative impact that is reason many come to our shores from other juristictions that do just that, so the. What is the appeal to come here, what is the point of additional taxing higher incomes, if means less higher incomes to tax, creating less tax revenues? Those with higher incomes contribute in other ways to our economy other than through just taxes, they typically are willing to spend more money in our retail and restaurant establishments, utilize higher rates of services.
                That said, there are other ways to increase revenues from those with more disposable incomes, things like hidden luxury fees. Let’s look at vehicles, let’s be honest, how many people driving the big SUV’s and other H class vehicles truly need a vehicle that big, most have one, maybe 2 kids, some none, so we create classes on vehicles not only by size, but by those using them. Singles or single couples (that is couples without or other dependants) really don’t need a vehicle bigger than a D or E class, but we don’t ban them from the higher classes, they just would pay a second higher rate for the chance to do so. Married couples with up to 2 kids or dependants, F or G class with a higher rate for H. Families of of more than 4, up to H at regular rate.
                Higher land taxation, or a additional fee for owner of more than one rental income property, doesn’t nessecarily have to be that much higher.
                Ultimately, it is not a matter of changing how we do business, but a matter of refining it, and doing what wasn’t done when it created an economic environment that presented opportunity for all locals just 10 years ago, nurture, further refine and maintain a competitive edge to it.

                • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                  Hmmm, was supposed to be “‘wouldn’t’ dismiss them right out”

                  • cole says:

                    So, no mention of other industries. Like I said.

                    Instead you want to tax the private sector more, who have been suffering pay cuts and severances for over 6 years, just so the Government staff can keep their jobs and pay?

                    Why are the government staff protected from the downturn the rest of us all have to experience, while you expect the rest of us to carry a greater burden?

                    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                      I have talked to the possibility of other industries and that the options are few, will take time to develop and not meet the immediate need. Like I said, I would not dismiss the those other industries out right, they just won’t be the magic bullet with a significant contributions for economic revenues. What I talked about wasn’t a private sector taxation, it is what can best be described as options for a ‘luxury taxation’.
                      Creative ideas are needed to get us out of this situation, I do not agree with the union and believe that furlough days should remain as an option, but should be explored in a fashion that can relieve some of the pressure off those with the lower wages who are feeling the worst of the policy. I also believe that the public sector needs to be measure to produce maximum efficiency with some sort of job metrics to hold employees accountable for there job performance. Lastly, with a more efficient public sector, the possibility for staff reduction can become a feasible reality, but currently the importance of keeping unemployment number down as much as possible is also critical. By simply letting people go, we may be reducing the payrol cost to government, but we will also be reducing cash flow into our economy and increasing the burden to assistance programs.

                • what... says:

                  interesting… but I’ll just have my granny buy and register my SUV for pennies (just like she does now).. The problem with this suggestion is enforcement.. We can’t regulate a speed limit!!!

                  Persoanlly I see no need for an SUV in Bermuda period!!

                  • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                    This isn’t about speed limits and we can always drop discounts for seniors with G and H, unless they actually have registered dependants living with them. Most senior I have seen don’t anything bigger than an F, most try to stay below D as the discounts are better.

        • jt says:

          That is not at all what people are thinking with respect to the numbers employed by govt. But you cannot seriously be suggesting that the size of our civil service is representative of the work required for our population.

        • Curious says:

          Its not the size per se. Its the cost!
          We spend 50% of every tax dollar we take in on civil service salaries

          Find me another country that does that and you can have your argument

        • Dark Star says:

          What planet are you from-a country needs to be run like a business otherwise it will fold.

          A country is not profitable when it is 2 billion in dept-how exactly do you think this is profitable???

          • Codfish and Potatoes says:

            Like Greece, we have reached the end of free money.

            As we stand it will take nearly 5 years of all of government’s revenue to pay the debt. Our grandkids will not see the end of this and Bermuda’s society is on the verge of collapse.

      • Rhonda says:

        @ Build a Better Bermuda the OBA add 115 workers to the CS in their first year… is there any reason you went back to 1998 for your example…. shouldn’t we be asking the OBA why have they, themselves increased the CS…

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          The PLP added over 2000

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          You also need Tomask how many the OBA were able to reduce by. They may have hired 115, but how many left the CS in that time… it is about input to output ratio. When I say that the PLP increased the the CS by over 2000, they did that on top of the jobs that they replaced with out going workers.

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            Sorry, ‘to ask’ not ‘tomask’

            • Lebron says:

              It’s raining. Good. Now go back to work.

              • Ray masters says:

                @lebron people like you are part of the problem!

                • Lebron says:

                  The problem is simple. We are in a mess, regardless of who got us here, we need austerity measures, and if furlough doesn’t get accepted people lose jobs.

                  The civil service is bloated and costs too much, that’s the issue, or we become a mini Greece.

                  Now, I don’t think that makes me or my frustration with people’s inability to see the blindingly obvious a problem, and I don’t like bully big strikes either.

                  So I stand by what I said, go back to work or face losing your job. Tough love.

                  • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                    I disagree about the austerity measures, these are what the government are working to try and avoid. Austerity is a drastic and final attempt to stave off defaulting on debt by making massive cuts to not just employees, but services. To date, the government has been avoiding these options and created a plan to avoid this, however that plan still requires further cut from the operating budget to keep it on track, and the biggest area to make those cuts is payroll.
                    The sad fact is that this isn’t entirely the fault of the public sector employees, they are the victim of past policies that created an over bloated public sector, a union that object to any sort of metrics based employment measuring that would allow for the hiring, firing and training practices that would create a more professional work force. Allowing people to be advanced or demoted based on their merits or faults, and not on their seniority and union protection

              • animallover says:

                I can see it now, when this is over, hopefully soon, they will all call in sick from being out in the rain LOL LOL

        • JD says:

          Lets just put this into perspective shall we:

          Government Salaries and Wages 2002/2003 – $254m

          Government Salaries and Wages 2008/2009 – $413m

          That’s a $159m (62%) increase. So what happened? Population growth and inflation can explain some of it, but I really don’t have an explanation for the scale of this jump.

          • jt says:

            I’d like to poll each of the marchers on how they voted 1998-2012….and why.

            • kelly says:

              Don’t do that you might get shocked!!!

              • jt says:

                Unlikely.

                • Villa says:

                  Stand firm Govt.

                  No pay to these people, and SACK THEM if they stay out.

                  This is A Political, nothing to do with furlough days b a big joke, an excuse to miss work.

          • Lawry says:

            Actually population is shrinking, down approx 6,000 during period, mainly expats leaving but also aging locals and low birth rate. Inflation is low throughout period, possibly even into deflation if severe drop in rents due to expat exodus is factored in… So the $159m is largely the result of Government/Big Brother handing out the pork. The more interesting question is what would the folks who got these jobs be doing if the jobs had not come along? What were they doing before? Deficits not withstanding, better they are employed spending money in the economy than not employed.

        • Awake says:

          Go back to sleep, Rhonda!

      • david smith says:

        either your too young and don’t know anything about history or your old and and can’t remember the past as to how people in this country were blocked and continue to be blocked by the color of their skin so the previous government employed them in an effort to allow them to fend for themselves. why do you think that their are so many easterners here. no its not because bermudians don’t want to work, they don’t want to work for crap pay. its simply greed thats killing this island.

        • hmmm says:

          Please provide evidence of people being blocked today by the colour of their skin.

          It is a violation of the human rights act

        • Bermuda320 says:

          sorry idiot, but sometimes you have to take a lower wage to make ends meet. Half a loaf is better than none.

      • G'd Up says:

        Everyone boycott from buying Dunkleys milk!

        • Harsh but Real says:

          Sure, do that and I bet he not gonna keep people employed if he can’t afford to!!!

        • stunned... says:

          what a great idea…so more of your green people can be made redundant. dumb ***.

        • Awake says:

          You’re an idiot! What about the numerous BERMUDIANS that work at Dunkley’s! Are you willing to share your pay with them when they lose their jobs?

    • serengeti says:

      Whoever the government is, they would have to deal with reality.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        There’s the crux, when the PLP were in power they tried to ignore the reality. How many years were there that all we heard from the PLP leadership was that the economy was OK, things were getting better, all the while they borrowed more and more to cover the increasing costs, intitially not taking any action to reign in the cost, eventually taking baby steps while the deficit grew further. In ’98 they criticized the UBP, for a bloated an ineffective CS, campaigning on a promise to create a leaner, more effecient, more professional CS… 14 years later we are paying for a promise they never tried to fulfil, and now the OBA has to make the tough calls they were too afraid to make, to take actions that could have been mitigated if lesser actions had been taken as few as 6 – 7 years ago.

      • G'd Up says:

        No Dunkleys milk

    • lucky 7 says:

      One of these things has to be done, its as simple as that!!!

    • Justin says:

      I suppose my trash won’t be picked up again today! However, if it was a recycling day it would be getting picked up. Just sayin’…

      • sswhite says:

        Tack your own damned trash to the dump anyways! It is shameful to see the piles of trash heaped outside of neighborhoods on the roadside. How many bags you producing a week? 2? 4? Mother Earth is tiring of you.

        • Double D says:

          Can’t take it to a facility that is closed because of a Union meeting.

          • Argosy says:

            You’re right there – the Unions run this Island, not the “Government”….i.e. the people!!

            It’s long past time for the OBA to make a stand. That’s one of the reasons we elected them…..but then, the UBP caved every time also.

            Sigh…

        • Justin says:

          I would gladly take my trash to the dump once a week if there were no resources, but as a taxpaying citizen, I pay to have my trash picked up twice a week so why should I take my own trash to the dump? If I take my own trash to the dump, can I get a discount on my taxes this month? Methinks not.

        • Truedat says:

          They need to pick up mine too I had a party last weekend and trash is still out on the road how hard can it be plus the cats and dogs are out now what are they all marching Iabout anyways who is Chris furlough ?

      • david smith says:

        dispose of your own trash, the plant is open

    • Mockingjay says:

      Wow this is just BEAUTIFUL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      So as of 2pm today, the unions’ immovable position is that they are for job lay offs in the public sector… this being the result of them being firm to not continuing with the furlough. Union, supporting unemployment as of 2015.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        If the BTUC were truly an honest organization, they would stop lying to the country and their membership, and call what they have done for these last 2 days what it really has been, an illegal industrial action… wild cat strike. There has been no meetings of the membership, they have not been given a vote, they have been told to report to rallies and lead on marches. Doesn’t matter what terms the union leaderships are using, all they are really doing is putting lipstick on a pig. They certainly aren’t doing their membership any favours at this point, every speech they make to them has only one intention, to stir emotions rather than common sense. I am curious to see how they are going to spin things when whatever solution that comes out of this comes with the fact that no one will win.
        It is quite funny when one can say that the OBA is the honest party in this affair, they have told the truth, cuts have to be made somewhere

      • Codfish and Potatoes says:

        Like Greece, we have reached the end of free money.

        As we stand it will take nearly 5 years of all of government’s revenue to pay the debt. Our grandkids will not see the end of this and Bermuda’s society is on the verge of collapse.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        So as it stands at the end of today, the union leaderships has unilaterally decided that furlough days will not continue without going to a vote from their memberships on the subject, Mr. Furbert won’t accept arribitration to allow someone else do decide for the membership, but hasn’t allowed the memberships to decide either, industrial action has been taken by the unions without the decision of the memberships… and the union leadership claims the governement isn’t listening to their memberships.

    • G'd Up says:

      Everyone boycott from buying Dunkleys milk!

    • Kathy says:

      It is happening all over the world…look at Europe…no one likes austerity measures but in times of crisis we have to reign in the ropes! I would much rather see people agree to a reduction in pay or days off in lieu of 500 families losing a job. If the people agree to nothing then there might not be any choice in the matter. The money can’t come out of the air! These are not the happy times of Bermuda’s past and we have to try to come together for a solution.

    • Y-Gurl says:

      That would be a start

    • Mockingjay says:

      Shut the Island down.

      • Anbu says:

        Too late! Where u been for the last week. Ya shut it down thatll fix ur problems. Simple minded people.

  2. Will says:

    For heaven sake get back to work. Who in their right mind doesn’t want to work these days. Just know…you are replaceable. Your country owes you nothing, you owe your country all you can. Now is not the time to be playing cat and mouse games when people are struggling and would love to fill your position whilst you are in “urgent” meetings that just so happened could wait a few days for!

    • Tough Love says:

      “Your country owes you nothing….” What? SO the basic rights that are afforded to guest workers and PRC and expats, Bermudians are not owed respect in their own country?!?

      • Sandgrownan says:

        List rights given to ex-pats and PRC holders that Bermudians don’t get…..oh wait…there aren’t any.

        Xenophobic rant is a xenophobic rant.

        • Tough Love says:

          Xenophobic? You paid bloggers love that word. And you love assuming.

          Example of rights that Bermudians don’t get:

          Talk bad about foreigners; Human Rights Commissions person warns commenters about language. Talk bad about Bermudians, silence from the same spokes person.

          • Sandgrownan says:

            Proof.

          • Noncents says:

            @ Tough Love,

            I love how you accuse “paid bloggers” of loving the word xenophobic, then proceed to make a very xenophobic remark about not having the right to talk bad about foreigners.

            • Tough Love says:

              No, the example was that both foreigners and Bermudians should be respected. Take from it what you will.

              • fact check says:

                you live in a dream world (or nightmare) tough love – that is exactly what the HRC said. I quote from the article…

                And HRC chairman Michael Hanson said that “hateful, vexatious and/or harmful words” about people’s national origin — whether Bermudian or from overseas — could breach the Island’s Human Rights Act.

                He added: “We have grown concerned at the increasing amount of general anger in our community and specific anger directed at politicians, Bermudians, PRC holders and others who comment or are involved in the current debates.”

                uh – talk about spining facts to suit your position.

        • DWEP says:

          Just remember that all of the employment rights and benefits that the private sector now enjoy are a direct result of the sacrifices and hard work of the Unions and their members. You may not like it and at times like this it can be inconvenient but the alternative would send us back 60+ years. Rest assured, if Gov has its way with the civil service private interest will lobby Gov to repeal the employment act! After all it “fair is fair”!

          • hmmm says:

            It is as a result of International standards.

            The Unions and PLP in Bermuda didn’t invent it.

      • jt says:

        Having a job is not a basic right. Just ask those who work in the private sector.

        • Tough Love says:

          Never said it was a job, but respect. Where’s the respect?

          • Sandgrownan says:

            Earn it

            • Tough Love says:

              Because apparently no one deserves respect until they earn it, right. Or do some people just get it because of who they are? I’m guessing the latter.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        No, you are not entittled to a job, it is your responsibility to work for that job. Any business, government or otherwise, that provides jobs can only provide as many jobs as they have the resources to support, and the public service sector was sized well beyond the means that government revenues could support, even before we lost, conservatively over 6000 jobs… how do you expect them to support the employment level now??

    • D says:

      IF you pay attention you will find that attending the meeting is mandatory. So you cant tell the workers to get back to work if they HAVE to be at the meeting.

    • Justin says:

      With Rev Tweed leading the crowd I can’t figure out if this is a People’s Campaign or a Labor march…

    • Concrened Bermudian says:

      Ok enough!!! You must be a foreigner. Did you not hear the news that the OBA is demanding an answer by today. So tell me where do we have time between Friday and Monday to answer without members voices.

      • Yahoo says:

        Saturday and Sunday – if this is important enough to march for, perhaps it is important enough to spare an hour or two on Saturday for?

        Those in the private sector are no stranger to working on urgent matters on Saturdays, Sunday, holidays, evenings…

        • what... says:

          And not getting paid extra for it!!!

          • college student says:

            with 100% paycheck…no furlough days…which would you prefer, a couple of hours during the weekend at work, or a smaller paycheck?

            Question though….how many who have a smaller paycheck because of furlough days have adjusted their expenses? I know people who

        • Tough Love says:

          Private sector doesn’t have to hold meetings with over 10,000 persons for an ultimatum given by the government.

          • True says:

            Because if a business in the private sector was $2billion dollars in debt, the employees would have a lot more to worry about than a furlough day!

          • Politricks says:

            Now it’s over 10,000 people?

        • enough says:

          yep working late tonight and no I don’t get overtime and don’t get paid for it.

        • Cardine Alice says:

          And had since October…. Plenty of time. Tick tock.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Over 64 hours… Lots of time, this was done just so they could hold this march, a march that is to now demand that the government downsizes public sector, just so that those who get to keep their jobs don’t have to take a furlough day…

      • Northshore says:

        What !!! They have had month`s to give an answer and I`m no foreigner. 2 things the PLP and BIU do very well,, PROCRASTINATE !!!!! 14 YEARS OF FIXING NOTHING AND TO CAWARDLY TO MAKE THE HARD DECISION`S !! Pat yourselves on the back,, this is all on you ,, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Will says:

        Yes I am Bermudian. However i have lived overseas for a few years and realise how things work in the real world. This petty **** would not fly anywhere else, or if it did, they wouldnt call all the members in at once thus bringing the country to a standstill. ever heard of an office memo that is sent around? they don’t bring the country to a standstill during an election so why should they for this?

      • Misinformed Fools says:

        Just an FYI, they knew about this date LONG before Friday! CF is loving this misinformation! He knew all about the date months before. Don’t let his pathetic ranting make you think otherwise.

    • Tisk says:

      What if I want to take $500 out of your pay every month? Don’t you think you would be a little upset. Then when you complained I said “Let me keep taking $500 or I’ll fire you.” Its a bad situation where the government has to do something, but the something is bad for a lot of people.

      • Guest27 says:

        Do you even realize what you wrote. $500 for one days pay? I don’t think that’s what the majority of CS’s get paid. Try again.

        • cole says:

          also assuming it was true – $500 x 5000 = $2,500,000 of tax-payer money lost to the walk-out each day.

          • Truth and Grace says:

            So lets get to negotiation and stop lying. Show up on time and get the job done.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        $500/8hrs with paid breaks = $62.50/hr
        $500/day x an average of 22 work days/month = $11,000/month
        $11,000/month x 12 months a year = $132,000/year

        If you are making that much a day, then you have zero sympathies. If you can not make due making that much a year, then you need lessons on how to live within your means. do you seriously know how many people that are out there that are employed that would want that income, even with a furlough day, much less those that are un or under employed. You think you are being ripped off, fine quit and let someone who could appreciate how good you have it take your job.

        • Leo says:

          Wait-who’s making that kind of money? Do you honestly believe that ALL civil servants are making that kind of money? If so, no wonder we have a problem if people are imagining that ALL civil servants are making that kind of money!

          You DO know about the PS scale, don’t you? Some at the top are making those large sums and that is where the resentment from the public comes in as they imagine that ALL civil servants make that kind of money and are living high on the hog. There are many at the bottom-the clerks for example-who are taking home four or five hundred dollars a week after deductions. Those are the ones who feel that loss of one day’s pay really hard. The managers who make ten or eleven thousand a month aren’t feeling it. If anything, there needs to be a cut on those at a certain PS grade and higher-the fat cats making the most money.

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            It is a direct response to Tisk who complained about being put out $500 with the furlough day.

    • Umjustsayin says:

      Really! Where do you work? What would you do if your employer says I’m going to continue taking money out of your pay & if you don’t like it were going to take it anyway! And if you’re not for it we’ll lay you off until we work out our budget without pay!!

      • What don't you get? says:

        Most employers would just lay you off and not give you the choice!

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Here is thought, as a public sector employee, you are not subject to what is best for an ownership or investors, that are typically a minority to the employee base. But you are subject to want is in the interest of the whole country, and what this country and all who live need, is a government that doesn’t need to borrow, just to payoff what it has already borrowed. This requires a decrease in government operating cost and payroll accounts for over 50% of that. There really is no better deal right now, if we don’t stop borrowing to payoff what we borrowed, then it is our children who are going to suffer for the short sightedness of those who choose to embark on an uncontrolled policy of running and expenditure that exceeded revenues. Ultimately, the actions governing the employment base that is around I believe 5000 – 6000, has to be weighed against the needs of over 65,000 people who are invested in the country’s success.

  3. Tony says:

    People there already? I assume they’re not being paid for the extra time they’ve taken off work? This something for nothing mentality has to stop.

    • Fresh Prince says:

      Maybe they caught the bus there. Because buses stopped running at 10:00am it would follow that people relying on public transport would have to arrange to get an earlier route to the meeting. I won’t address the “something for nothing” comment. Its disrespectful to suggest that there is “no work” being done by our civil service is incredible and appears to be based purely on emotion as opposed to rational thought.

      • Tony says:

        Trust me, it’s based on rational thought. I work for the civil service, and I do not support the action of the unions one iota.

        The employers with a brain are, on the whole, at their desks today doing the job for which they are very well paid. The others are on strike. I could have told you who would have been working and who would not before any strike had been called, because they are the ones who do little work anyway.

  4. San George says:

    As long as you have a bloated civil service they will out-smart the government. For each furlough they will rack-up overtime. Cut the civil service in order to avoid destroying this country with out of control DEBT!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Agree, it is practice in the public transport to call out sick, so that they have to call in someone on their off day at overtime, with that person doing likewise on their regular day. An immediate, first step solution to this is to chart sick day usage and those who use the most without any legitimate and documented medical condition, gets put to the top of the on call list to work at regular pay.

  5. Skink says:

    I’ll take a furlough day to make sure my fellow Gov’t. Workers keep a hold of a civil service job. Been out of work since July…… sign me up Gov’t……… Union “Heads” stop ya swelling and ego inflating!!!! #bermudainflategate

    • Raw Onion says:

      I work for Govt and will gladly keep my furlough day if it means keeping myself or someone else employed. I’ve learned to budget with one day less pay per month.

      I’m not at the meeting as I have already made my decision. Continue with the furlough days Govt, if you have to in order to not make drastic changes to the civil service!!!

      • animallover says:

        Too bad some people don’t think like you. Good luck with this.

      • Truth and Grace says:

        That is honourable of you Raw Onion. However, if the purse is empty and this is why we need to continue the furlough day, why is the Government spending money on the Americas Cup? Where is the Government going to recoup that expenditure? What revenue line is this event creating? These are the types of cost we need to pay attention to also.

        • Crazy says:

          Are you suggesting that we shouldn’t host the America’s Cup? The exposure it brings to Bermuda is invaluable!

          Can’t win with some of you crazies!

          • Ray masters says:

            @crazy just like when ewart brought PGA here which I’m sure you was against and offered bda much needed exposure as well as debt the Americas cup will afford those same things, exposure and debt….. But I guess your into sailing so that’s ok

            • Politricks says:

              You can’t compare the Americas cup to the second rate golf tourney known as the PGA grand slam with only 4 players over 3 days and show on one network channel.

              Be real for once.

              Not saying the PGA was a waste of time but it is nowhere near the caliber of the Americas Cup. People didn’t develop properties for the PGA, but they will for the AC.

              • Truth and Grace says:

                Oh ok people with disposable income will develop properties, and make more money! Now your telling the truth. Lets not worry about those who currently are robbing peter to pay paul because of the furlough days.

                Tell me something, where is it guaranteed that the Americas Cup will provide Bermuda with a net income? Have contract been signed the guarantees us revenue and long term job creation going forward.

                • Politricks says:

                  You think the wealthy are going out there to construct their own properties?

                  Did you see the Greens mixing cement at HP or preparing the old Sonesta site for imminent construction?

                  No, of course not. They used local companies for that and as such spread the wealth.

                  Look at the financial impact it had on the previous host city.

                  If you guys don’t want the exposure or the economic stimulus the AC WILL bring then continue on with your selfish rants and actions. me, me, me is all you guys can say as opposed to seeking what’s best for BDA as a whole. So yes you sound and come across as extremely selfish.

                  Do not cry when the unemployment line becomes bigger because no foreign investor with ‘disposable income’ won’t touch this island with a 10 foot pole because of the actions of a selfish few.

          • Truth and Grace says:

            The exposure will not pay our(Gov)bills. Guarantee of revenue will. Where’s the guarantee? We are not in the position to take such a risk. Taking a risk at this time is crazy, Crazy.

            • Politricks says:

              The guarantee is that people will come to watch the AC because it is a popular event with many even if you and yours don’t like such events. I am not a sailor, but I do not what such a prestigious event can do for our island. Even Bro. Chris Furbert and his PLP cohorts have stated that on several occasions.

              More developments will be spurred on because of the AC, which means more workers being employed within the various construction industries and hospitality sectors.

              More people employed = more taxes going to Government to feed the bloated civil service etc.

              More tourists coming to island = more Govt fees collected from departure taxes, hotel taxes etc. Also, tourists = spending in the local economy.

              Even Pres. Obama noted today that the US deficit has shrunk recently due to the increased economic activity throughout the USA.

              I could go on, but what’s the point as you can’t seem to correlate increased economic activity with better Government finances and the ability to pay the overemployed civil service.

              have a good day.

  6. donneika says:

    Freaking disgusting…..

  7. Theresa T says:

    Thks Bernews for your updates!!

  8. Trulytruly says:

    Its called between a rock and a hard place. I would accept the furlough day(s) as opposed to the prospect of workers being laid off. Ask me how I know. I was laid off 5 months ago in the private sector. If given the choice of losing one or two days pay a month or no job at all which one do you think I would have chosen? The answer is easy and obvious for all to get.

  9. St Kool says:

    Toys. Crib. Back. In.

  10. Alvin Williams says:

    We are the back bone of this country and it is time we make this quite clear; we will not stand for a government that is determine to create a Bermuda without the Bermudian. We will resist for the sake of our families.

    • Joonya says:

      what are you talking about alvin??

    • Politricks says:

      Where was your outrage when the PLP offered a 5% pay cut which is more than the 4.6% reduction that came about with the furlough days?

      Why wasn’t the PLP anti-Bermudian, anti-worker, anti-black people etc?

    • St Kool says:

      Resist what, exactly? No one is out to create a Bermuda without Bermudians. But hey, if the Kool Aid tastes good, might as well drink it!

      • jt says:

        Resist anything not plp.

        Every cent earned by a got employee comes from the private sector Alvin. Your backbone statement is flawed.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      So you intend to resist as many people keeping their jobs as possible for a position where people will be laid off. The biggest mistake the labour organization promote is that we are all entitled to a job, the reality is, we have to work for our jobs, for the sake of our families. Any other belief is a fantasy being sold for selfish reasons.

    • Northshore says:

      Newsflash Alvin !! They are NOT the backbone of this Country ! Hard working PRIVATE SECTOR is the backbone of this Counrty and don`t you forget it !!!

    • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

      last i checked alvin…i don’t think it was a bermudian that created bermuda…if you build a house for me, does that mean you own the house..? the very first born bermudian had foreigners as parents, so unless you are part of that babies bloodline, ie; birthed on the rock as he/she grew up and had children of their own…then you are a foreigner too…

  11. Justin says:

    Suddenly, the money we paid for Beyonce and trips to The Playboy Mansion are becoming a lot more relevant, eh?

    • Politricks says:

      $46mn on Grand Atlantic, $20mn overrun on Port Royal, $40mn overrun on Dockyard Pier, $65mn overrun on Berkeley, $10mn overrun on TCD etc.

      But don’t blame the PLP for our financial position…no way…blame the OBA who inherited the $350mn+ deficit and $2bn debt…

      PLP all the way!

      • Hmmm says:

        We need to get over who’s fault it is and get on with fixing it! We are in the toilet and everyone is pointing fingers ……..OBA said they were going to fix it now get the heck on with it stop bleating on about the PLP and what they spent and stop taking from people who can Ill afford it!!!! Build a bridge and get over the past make us a better future the future you promised when you got elected. And don’t let my child’s education suffer while you are doing so and your kids are in private school! We need a solution YESTERDAY!

    • Tough Love says:

      Sit down Bieber. You don’t know what you are talking about. Beyoncé was a tourism event, just like the BTA giving trips to Rachael Ray’s audience to come to visit and the British talent show coming here to shoot.

      • Yahoo says:

        Don’t dis the Biebs.

      • sebring says:

        you can not compare the exposure and the amounts spent!!!!

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Actually, they never provided any statistics about how much tourism Beyoncé or any of the music festivals generated, they also knew from the start that tickets sales for the events were not going to cover the cost of even just Beyoncé. Dr. brown simply did what the Romans used to do with the gladiator games, provide entertainment to placate and distract the masses, and fuel his ego as a chance to rub elbows with stars… and to do so without having spend any of his money to do so.

        • Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown says:

          I have been reading “Building Bermuda” and cannot figure out what he is building. Although I do see what he is contributing to…..an increase in the social tension and the possibility of horrible events taking place on the ground. To imply that thousands of Bermudians and visitors did not ENJOY the Festival but rather were “placated” is a racist statement, given that the vast majority of the patrons were Black. This event and all Music Festival events in the history of the BDOT were included in the annual budget. You may disagree with our choices but you do not have to imply silly ulterior motives. But then again, you may be catering to your inner racist assumptions and therefore there is no hope for you.

          • justin says:

            Your strategy never changes – call someone a racist instead of admitting your short comings when you lead this country. Can you honestly sit there and say Beyonce was worth the money we spent to get her here? What about your trip to The Playboy Mansion? Will you ever admit that we shouldn’t have ran up massive deficits under your leadership? If you did then it will certainly go a long way in helping people to work on solutions instead of blaming the PLP. Until then we will continue to debate your questionable policies. Deuces.

            • Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown says:

              Hi Justin,
              I seriously believe that the statement made was racist. That has nothing to do with whether the investment in Beyonce was “worth it”. I happen to believe that the videos that Beyonce shot in Bermuda were worth a great deal in terms of global exposure. All expenditures were made within the BDOT budget.
              I have said on many occasions that the trip to Los Angeles and to the Playboy Mansion was a birthday gift from my wife. Does it bother you that we paid our own way for a trip to India?
              With regard to the “massive deficits”, I don’t expect you to understand the rationale for our spending on things like a state-of-the-art cruise terminal. a modern testing center at TCD, etc. If you have time, come and learn the truth instead of taking your information from the CyberKlan Grapevine.

              • Curious says:

                You do realize that the two infrastructure projects you mentioned are still mired in controversy over corruption and budget over-runs?
                Next you’ll mention Berkeley as a shining beacon of good governance

                • Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown says:

                  There was clearly an issue of over-runs. That is not “controversial” as far as I am concerned. It is a matter of fact. However, the figures perpetrated by the CyberKlan are incorrect. When you compare the PRE-CONSTRUCTION estimate with the FINAL cost the over-runs are much lower. However the drama of larger numbers was consistent with the pre-election strategy.

              • Justin says:

                Ok, I get where you are coming from. So, do you believe that all these ‘investments’ in the country have been worth the consequences (furlough days for gov’t employees, less scholarships for our young people, wage freezes, etc..)? Do you believe that all of the increased spending under your watch was necessary at the time?

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            Everyone has an inner racist, it is an ingrained part of human nature/biology older than homo sapien and recognizing ones inner racist is the first step to ensuring you don’t cater to it. Denying it only leads to allowing it to govern your thoughts and beliefs, often making one look for racism everywhere but within. None of what I wrote had anything to do with belief, and everything to do with, ‘did we get our worth’. You believe yes, it was you baby, your vision, and as being your vision, you don’t look beyond it. Was it worth it. In dollars, more money was spent for a single act on one night, than the entire 3 nights of festival could have pulled in. Did it pull in overseas visitors, I don’t think there was any significant rise in leisure air arrivals that month. You’d be hard pressed to say that there was more than 100 tourist to that event, and how many of them flew in for the concert, that weren’t working the concert, is a mystery as no statistics were taken. So it was effectively a show for locals. I know, I was there, all three nights. Out of those nights, my personal opinion is that Aron Neville and UB40 easily out performed and entertained Beyoncé, Alicia Keys would be about 3rd place. Beyonce’s performance was just that, a performance, even any of her songs I liked seemed dry, rehearsed, mechanical from being repetitive.
            At a time when the fall had been easily visible for at least the last year, was it worth the extra cost to entertain the mass, could the money have been better utilized else where, like a failing educations system. In my opinion, yes. Can you honestly justify, that as the decline reached our shores, that it was more important for you to give our tourism ministry an increase in it’s budget and make the cuts to our children’s education and healthcare… tell me, what did you build.

            • Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown says:

              Speak for yourself regarding YOUR “inner racist”. I believe we all have prejudices but that is decidedly different from establishing and perpetrating a system of White Supremacy in all nine areas of Human activity—Economics, Education, Entertainment, Labour, Law, Politics, Religion, Sex and War.
              It seems, from your comment, that your issue with the Festival was whether it met your personal tastes. Personally, I thought Beyonce’s show was outstanding! so much for opinions.
              One can always make the argument that money allocated to one ministry would be better spent in another. That rationale could, in my opinion, lead to a one-ministry Government….The Life Ministry! Folks smarter than I am long ago determined that a better model (imperfect though it might be) would be to create numerous ministries, allocate budgets and expect them to utilize that budget to execute the ministry agenda.
              If you really want to know what was built during my administration, send me an email (efbrown@logic.bm) and I will mail it to you. The list is too long to be included in a blog comment! I promise you’ll be surprised that the list goes far beyond Beyonce and fast ferries!

              • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                What is racism but one side of the prejudice dice, to narrow its view to the simplicity of an institution is to allow it to sneak around the edge one’s mental/emotional vision. To believe that it is a white institution is in itself racism, for it exists in human nature and where humans have instituted it around the world, and not just by Europeans. And to think that one’s self is immune to it, while another person is its perpetrator, is the folly of ego, and where there is a racial difference between the 2, it is racism as well… especially when you assume that one’s race by their point of view.

      • Rise and Shine says:

        Just like the Americas Cup!

        • Argosy says:

          R&S – are you seriously comparing the Bermuda Music Festival to the Americas Cup?? You’d better get back to bed!

    • Dr. the Hon. Ewart F. Brown says:

      Trip to Playboy mansion was paid for by my wife. Beyonce concert came from BDOT budget. Try again!

      • stunned... says:

        @ BERNEWS – is it possible to include a button with a straight face icon that says “Ignore”? this will allow the poster an option to register the fact that they read the comment and chose to “Ignore” it.

  12. Unfair says:

    Only certain workers can make up their furlough days with overtime. Teachers don’t get paid for overtime. A good bit of these workers, live paycheck to paycheck just like others in the private sector. More days without pay is not an option for some, sorry.

    • Politricks says:

      But continuing on with a $250mn+ annual deficit is not an option for any of us…

      • Rubbish says:

        Shared sacrifice……are the ministers taking a pay cut? Is the premier taking a pay cut?

        • Curious says:

          Quick question, what is larger
          5% of the annual civil service salary bill or 5% of the annual MP salary bill

          Thought so.

          • Curious 2 says:

            QUick question, which is greater
            5% of the annual civil service salary bill alone or 5% of the annual civil service salary bill + 5% of the annual MP salary bill…..Thought so.

            • Curious says:

              Excellent! Some actual math!

              So if
              5% of the annual civil service salary bill + 5% of the annual MP salary bill
              is greater then
              5% of the annual civil service salary bill alone

              Would 10% of the annual civil service salary bill + 10% of the annual MP salary bill be greater then 5% of both?

              How many % do we need to shave off to bring down the % of Tax $ spent on CS Salary (including MPs) to a more manageable level?

        • Onion says:

          The Cabinet took at 10% pay cut already.

        • Islandguy says:

          I think the ministers already took a pay cut. i could be mistake..

    • D says:

      Though what you say is the turth in most cases that some cant afford to take more unpaid days….I would much rather take a few days unpaid than to be without a job completely. On another note best of luck to all workers affected.

    • Onion says:

      The alternative is no pay. Job losses are coming. Doesn’t matter who is in government we can’t borrow forever.

  13. Triangle Drifter says:

    There they all are, The Entitled. How many of them did not have a Government job in 1998 when the Civil Service was already bloated & the PLP campaigned on the promise of cutting Government expense i.e. the Civil Service?

    Look what they did. Friends & family unemployable anywhere else got a paycheck. Something like 1 in 4 or 5 is on the Government payroll. Rediculous!

    The OBA did not create this situation where we have a debt costing some $250,000 per day to service.

    Take your pick people. Take furlough days now or get fired in the not too distant future. Never mind what you want to believe, money does not fall out of the sky to pay you. Like the rest of us who have been taking licks for years now, you are not entitled to anything.

    • St Kool says:

      Ahh, but they are. That’s the PLP way. Just because you’re a Bermudian (or “real” Bermudian, I should say), you’re entitled to a job in your country. Forget earning it, working hard, working long hours without being asked to, etc.

      • Rise and Shine says:

        Who said people should have a job without working for it? Assumptions run rampant on this site. If a country has more jobs than people. The educated natives should expect to secure work. Unfortunately many Bermudian have been and remain displaced by foreign employees. That’s a reality.

        • Guest27 says:

          Displaced by foreign employees? Give me a break. Do you know how many Bermudians out there are unemployable? Sadly there’s many.

  14. Guest27 says:

    Not an option for some? There are many “workers” in the Civil Service who shouldn’t even be employed! They should feel fortunate to have a paycheck at all.

    • Rubbish says:

      That’s a slave mentality. Just because I got to eat scraps tonight, I should be grateful? BS

      • stunned... says:

        civil(?) servants – an ever growing wart on the backbone of the Bermudian non-govt workers and tax payers.

    • Ray masters says:

      Guest 27 your prejudiced tone speaks volumes… There are also many guest workers that are far less qualified for the jobs they hold in place of an highly educated bermudian who was simply overlooked because of the fact they are bermudian.

    • Ray masters says:

      e@guest27 not only prejudice by your statements you are a coward as you hide behind a fake name…. Grow a pair coward.

      • Guest27 says:

        Oh please…my mother has called me worse…loser. Try adding an intelligent point or two to the conversation.

  15. watching says:

    it is so easy for those especially in the private sector to condemn these folks, but they have had deductions for the past two years, yet we see a government that has not reduced spending in any meaningful way, has just increased its cabinet, and has given concessions to Americas Cup while guaranteeing them 77M dollars. It is unacceptable that these workers are being forced to reduce their income. They have rents and mortgages and school fees and groceries to buy as well. Everyone isn’t rich like the OBA Ministers.

    • LiarLiar says:

      If you didn’t notice the most recent labor report indicated that Bermuda lost over 5,000+ jobs since 2008.

      And not one of them came from the public sector. So who is sacrificing?

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      You do realise that people working in the private sector have also had to make concessions, most of them larger concessions than the furlough days, and for longer?

      You do realise the concessions given to things like the America’s Cup are done with the thought to getting work in Bermuda for Bermudians? Not just short term, but long term?

    • lucky 7 says:

      @watching–cuts HAVE to be made somewhere…..why can’t you see that?? Where would you suggest we make cuts where people wouldn’t be affected?? No matter where we make cuts, someone will be affected by it, but right now its how we have to go.
      Those people SHOULD be glad they have their job, and ‘Rubbish’–that’s not a slave mentality, its common sense. YOU have a slave mentality, no one’s keeping you down, there are 24hours in every day….what do you choose to do with yours?

  16. Ann says:

    Please government fire them if they don’t agree, there are so many private trucking companies and landscaping companies that would be thrilled for the contracts!

    • Mockingjay says:

      I don’t think you would want to know the outcome of that.

    • Astwood says:

      You Have some God Dam nerve!
      Where do u come from (CHEAP LABOUR)

    • Unbelievable says:

      @Ann
      You really are an idiot to make such a remark. Fire them ALL!?! We can clearly tell by all these comments who furlough days do not affect and who are not struggling. You ppl are got to be kidding with all your rubbish. Stop being so insensitive and put your self in the civil servants shoes. When things don’t affect a certain class of ppl, ppl that have never had to fight for anything, ppl that’s always had roads paved for them than I don’t expect those ppl to ever understand. The struggle is real. “He who feels it knows it” that’s all go with God!

  17. Yahoo says:

    Rounding up the sheep for yet another march…

  18. Sure just put more strain on Mr & Mrs Joe Public, try and take from them so they have to come begging to financial assistance, more strain on the public purse, Government has their self in a tailspin, they need to raise funds to further eliminate the public debt, and the latest reason is to help to afford to host their big Gala event of the America’s cup, either way the workers are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, next thing to go is our pensions we have put into the system for years. A bunch of joker’s and they say the P.L.P ripped us off, I like to know what the hell they call what they are doing and trying to do.

    • Guest27 says:

      You really think you put into a pension? No, you put money into an account that the PLP then turned around and spent. Did you not read the SAGE Report? Something about Government Pensions being underfunded? Ring any bells?

    • sebring says:

      what gov needs to do is stop paying the nursery bill for any child who’s mother makes under 50,000 per year . making these so called nurseries that sprung up during the last administration to take advantage of Government ! I have had young women who come look at some rentals on Gov assistance and they are in the early 20,s some even and tell you (I Have been on this for three years and never had a problem) so then you ask who the house is for and pops up the baby or babies the baby father or new boyfriend ! lmfao! not here
      so althought some will need legitimate help there are more that abuse the system example if they paid for one child do not pay for the second! people are irresponsible and Gov is footing the bill.start collecting on dollar for bus use on all student have you seen the cell phones and plan some have ! crap !caught the bus a couple of times and most students where from private schools by heron bay and warwick I think that is just a privilege for the rich ! lets cut that down before affecting the working class!.most students will go to a school nearby where they live so the dollar per bus ride will be little if any inconvenience.
      stop this insanity ! cap what nurseries can charge ! most if not all charge more that some universities !

    • Argosy says:

      Accounting 101, Duane! Balancing the books.

  19. bdaman441 says:

    Remember people, today’s gathering is an emergency meeting based on the requirement for a response TODAY. I don’t understand the approach….a letter sent on Friday with a response required on Monday. Yes the country is in this situation but can’t we collectively work on it via a more respectful process?

    • LiarLiar says:

      Meetings have been going on since October when the Government stated that they agreed to shelve the Public Reform Bodies Act in turn for the Unions to work with the Government to find 5% operational savings.

      That’s almost 5 months and the Unions know when the budget is finalized. It has been the same time for decades.

      This ultimatum nonsense is exactly that…nonsense.

    • Guest27 says:

      bdaman441 – What’s so hard to understand? These people have to say yes or else they will eventually lose their jobs. It’s not rock science. Bermuda is beyond broke!

      • Guest27 says:

        *Rocket Science*

      • bdaman441 says:

        What I don’t understand is why the process has to be played out this way….letters, demands for responses. At any point can the elected leaders of both the country and the unions sit down and have a conversation??? Can this matter be managed with a tad more respect??

        For the workers, further reductions vs threats of job losses must be a hard pill to swallow when on the flip side almost every aspect of the upcoming America’s Cup (of which I am a total supporter of for what if can do for Bermuda) has had all fees and duties completely eradicated…not discounted but taken down to ZERO.

        So there are those who cry shut up and get back to work….be glad to have a job in the first place…and this adds to what was missing in the beginning….respect.

      • Rise and Shine says:

        Bermuda is broke but agreed to host the Americas Cup! Help me understand how a broke country agrees to spend out $77M on an event…regardless of the potential income.

        • Guest27 says:

          See that’s the problem. “Regardless of the potential income.” Small minds can’t fathom the return that we will be getting from the AC for YEARS to come!

          • Ray masters says:

            Guest 27 you coward potential doesn’t add up to actual just like the PGA there is a chance of no benefit for years to come compounded by 70 plus million of more debt.

    • aceboy says:

      Ask how long the OBA having been waiting for a response. The letter on Friday was the only way the government seems to be able to get a response from the YunYun.

    • Mr Concern says:

      You all must understand, that we, (government) does not have any money! We are Broke! So we must pull from Peter to pay Paul!

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        If $800 million is no money to You ;-)

        • serengeti says:

          You think if you have an $800m line of credit, you own that money?

          • Jus' Askin' says:

            You use that line of credit to generate more money m8!!!
            OBA has proven they came in with no plan and two years later they still don’t have a clue of what to do ;-)

      • Astwood says:

        TAKE IT FROM THE CHEAP LABOUR!

  20. aceboy says:

    I thought they were having a “meeting” not a march?

    Stop wasting time and money and go back to work!

  21. cole says:

    “BTUC President: If the Govt intends to take our money, they are picking a fight”

    It isn’t “your” money – it is money made from the taxes of those in the private sector who remain employed – many who took a much bigger cut than the 5% furlough in the past 4 years.

  22. Truth Speaker says:

    Watch all OBAers make up every single excuse to defend that nasty letter

    • St Kool says:

      Oh, right. You mean like this lot make any excuse to b*tch, moan, fuss, not work, etc? Fire the lot of them if they don’t agree, it’s a common sense decision. There are people without jobs who would happily do their jobs for them, and do what they’re being asked to do for the good of their country. There’s no I in Bermuda, but according to this lot there certainly is a ME.

    • theothersidebermuda says:

      How do you know it was ‘nasty’…because someone said it was? My guess is that it was factual…and the facts, although inconvenient and a difficult pill to swallow, remain the facts. Unless there is name calling or finger pointing, I doubt there is anything that constitutes ‘nasty’. Let’s wait for the transcript.

      • theothersidebermuda says:

        Having now read it, I think I pretty much got it right. Factual and unfortunate, yes. Nasty, no.

    • Raw Onion says:

      The letter read wasn’t disrespectful, it was the truth!! Sorry Union leaders, I can read and think for myself.

  23. Triangle Drifter says:

    Has the BTUC obtained a permit to march through the streets of Hamilton disrupting the businesses & those who do want to work?

    Just wondering if they are exempt from the city ordinances & laws regarding street obstruction?

    • Truth Speaker says:

      sometimes you make sense and then majority of times you sound really stupid smh

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        A simple question. One that deserves an answer. What is to dislike about it?

        What if a couple hundred smokers of Bermuda decided to have an impromtu stomp around the streets of Hamilton? Do you think the BPS would be hauling them off in the wagons in no time or what?

  24. ??? says:

    I would feel sorry for Gov’t if they were actually smart with their money. The concessions and tax breaks for the America’s cup and other private companies are missed opportunities for revenue. “If we are so badly in need of tightening the purse strings” you can’t expect an already struggling public work force with limited income to have sympathy and ask them to sacrifice more….. The wealth and investment background that the America’s cup entities bring to the island are endless, there is always a firm to borrow from, however public workers on a fixed income don’t have the luxury of contacting their investment manager to redeem a portion of their portfolio for a “rainy day”……. Just some food for thought…..

    • LiarLiar says:

      And if they didn’t give the tax breaks what makes you sure that that the America’s Cup of the other developments would have come to fruition?

      The whole point of concessions is to provide incentives to job creators to set up shop in your country. Every country and sub-counties/states/parishes does so these days.

      If you close up shop in a globalized world you are finished.

      • Guest27 says:

        See that’s logical thinking, but you don’t think that the majority of our countrymen understand that do you? That would be wishful thinking.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        That sailed way over their heads. Not surprising though for people who don’t have a clue of how to run Bermuda Inc.

  25. Kay says:

    How about the Goverment be willing to be first partakers and take a further pay cut.

    • C says:

      Totally agree. Start from the top

    • Onion says:

      They already took 10%. That was one of the first things they did when they got in office.

      So are the workers willing to follow suit for the good of us all?

      • Hmmm says:

        So take another 10% simple! They are still overpaid and the majority have other means if income.

        My child needs to go back to school and can’t when the teachers are marching. The attitude of the privileged people in MY country irritates me it’s all about the almighty dollar and not the people. We have lost the plot!

  26. Jus' Askin' says:

    Budget time is becoming more and more suspenseful ;-)

  27. Tough Love says:

    Bernews – Can you get a copy of that letter from the Ministry to the unions for us?

    • Bernews says:

      @Tough Love, we will be posting the full text of the letter in about 15 mins…just transcribing it now!

  28. Joonya says:

    You didnt listen to Bob Richards when he warned you about your 14 year spending spree (which is why you are in this pickle) and now you still dont wan to listen to him. But you’re all ears for every rally cry.

  29. Jeremy Deacon says:

    I wonder who will blink first…..

    • PBanks says:

      Hopefully everybody. We need everybody to get around the table and come up with something that will work for everyone.

  30. sofa king says:

    Is one of the leaders of that march on a Work Permit?

  31. Unbelievable says:

    These folks think that if the OBA Govt has to make mass redundancies, and they lose the next election, they think the PLP, if returned back to Govt, are going to just MAGIC! POOF! hire them back.

    They are dreaming. Where were you folks when the PLP was running rampant with your tax dollars??? No where to be seen cuz you drank the Kool-Aid.

    • Yep, unbelievable says:

      If they were running rampant with your tax dollars, where were you? There wasn’t half the amount of outcry then as it is now towards the PLP! SOOOO you drank the Kool-Aid too!

    • ..... says:

      This isn’t a case of OBA vs PLP… the government workers havent received the inflation/cost of living raise for the last 6 years, they acctepted the furlough day for a year and now the government are continuing to take take take.
      I know how frustrating it has been to budget whilst having to educate my child and live with just my husband working for Government… I couldnt imagine how those families with both parents in government have made out and will continue to make ends meet if the furlough days continue or are increased.

  32. Just saying.... says:

    Where is Paula Cox ?

  33. Destined2Rule says:

    Lol! So they are on strike, do these people know that their own kids are stranded at school now? No buses are running and schools are dismissed.

  34. C says:

    how about the ministers take a small pay cut. Cut the governors pay, reduce power consumption in govt buildings buildings. Govt move offices to buildings they own to save rent. Stop paying folks who go 65 if they r still working…there are so many more avenues that govt can make cuts without hitting these folks again.

    • dam says:

      You have to understand the money the give you at 65 is nothing

  35. Joonya says:

    Who’s gonna pay for the police presence. Unions? They should be billed as I dont want my hard earned tax dollar wasted on it.

  36. and im sticking to it says:

    Are the MPs taking furlough days?

  37. Patricia says:

    Can Mr Furbert or Mr Hayward tell me y u hv Rev Tweed saying an opening prayer. He not even a member of BTUC. With over 3000 members u cldnt find one member to say a prayer. U usually do at any other meeting. Rev Tweed needs to stay behind his pulpit.
    I m a govt worker n I m prepared to continue my furlough day if it means keeping my job.

  38. La says:

    How much money did the Govt promise the Americas Cup?
    My concern is …if we are broke why are they promising others money but can’t pay the workers???

    • Joonya says:

      Get your binoculars out and try to see out a little further than tomorrow..

      • and im sticking to it says:

        So basically we should sacrifice for the profit of the wealthy

        • Joonya says:

          I’m not weathly, but I know that I/we will benefit from AC, thats because I understand basic economics. Do we really have to sit here and explain it to you again for a 100th time?!
          Grab your raincoat and get back to the march then.
          Sheesh man its like talking to a wall..

          • And I'm sticking to it says:

            Yes, you and everyone else who has financial security (because you aren’t wealthy) will benefit from the AC. And often debating with people like you is like talking to a brick wall. Unless you feel the disparity of the decisions made, it’s a pointless argument to have when you feel we should keep quiet and allow the government to do whatever they want…

            well, I am wishing you the very best. what goes around comes around.

        • Joonya says:

          Nevermind.. grab your umbrella and get back to the march….

      • La says:

        You missed the point….8 we can’t pay the workers how will we pay for the AC? ? Basic logic….

  39. Just Asking says:

    Just wondering when the MPs and premier are going to tell the public of their paycut they are generously going to take??? I don’t see them trying to help remedy the situation any….

    • serengeti says:

      Didn’t they already take a 10% pay cut? Wasn’t that one of the first things the OBA did?

      • Just Asking says:

        As of April 2012, the salaries are as follows

        Premier $212,887
        Full- time Minister in the Senate $142,413
        Deputy Premier as full time Minister $172,438
        Minister in the House of Assembly [full time] $159,666
        Opposition Leader $82,070
        Part – time Ministers in the Senate $83,390
        Speaker, House of Assembly $78,463

        5% paycut off of these salaries…ARE YOU KIDDING??? These people aren’t hurting, most of them have other jobs and businesses aside from these positions…with all due respect 5% was just said to appease the masses, but it was chump change to them…look at these figures…the common government worker doesn’t make this sort of money AND THEY WORK FULL TIME AND SOME OVERTIME.

        Information Courtesy of Bernews: http://bernews.com/election/bermuda-political-history/politicians-salaries/

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          You are too far off except you are missing the important factor, numbers. Essentially you have 36 MP’s and 11 senators, from which the cabinet is made up and you have a total of 47 salaries that averages to around $100k. Give them a 10% pay cut and at best you get roughly $500k. Measure that up to how many there are in the public service which has an expense of over $400m and how much removing approx 5% from that and where do you think you will get more savings.

          Now to add to this, I also believe that senators, MO’s and ministers should be taking a pay cut too

      • Just Asking says:

        My apologies 10 %, the article was saying 5% so that’s what I put…but even 10 % is small in comparison to these salaries

  40. Really says:

    I think some of the Ministers need to go. Most of them are no use just sitting there getting paid. Some of them with 2 jobs. I think government needs to shuffle and get rid a few of their own then sort things out. This is crazy. I thank all the teachers that are at the schools attending to the kids that are there today. I have heard of a few schools closed already.

  41. watching says:

    Perhaps Premier Dunkley and Minister Gibbons and Richards whom we all know are not hardly suffering financially, should offer to work for a year without receiving Ministerial pay. That would be near 500K saved right there. Or what about 10% reduction for Ministers? Why did Premier Dunkley increase the size of cabinet by bringing Cannonier back? That’s an added 110K to the public purse. Why is the government refusing to even entertain the idea of additional revenue streams?

    • Unbelievable says:

      If Ministers decide to take a pay cut, then that means all MPS have to and that includes PLP MPs. And you know that ain’t gonna happen.

    • Starting Point says:

      Why are you looking for 100s of thousands in savings? we need to find 10s if not 100s of millions in savings. This is the underlying problem, the union and its followers do not even comprehend the math we are talking about….

      • Rise and Shine says:

        The Unions have a very firm understanding of the math which is why they collectively proposed $60M-$80M in cost savings to the Government. $37M of which the Government have decided they will implement. The Government on the other hand made no real effort to seek out cost savings. They didn’t come up with the cost savings…the Unions did.

        Government workers have had to do without a days pay for a year now. They have felt the struggle and their struggle has mounted year after year. With no cost of living adjustment since 2010, their purchasing power has decreased and thus their disposable income. Then they lose a whole days pay every month. Now they face 19% increase in insurance. Meanwhile the OBA pursue the Americas cup well aware of the resources (Government workers and money) required to host the event. Nonesense! Their priority is clearly not the people. Never has been….never will be.

  42. Bosto Baked Bean says:

    We’ve just received word at work that some of the schools are now officially closed and people need to go pick up their kids (??)

  43. and im sticking to it says:

    The government cannot function without the lower class.

  44. Just a matter of time says:

    Continue to give concessions freely in perpetuity with no real performance and accountability from these establishments other than threatening job losses….good
    Give freebies and concessions to the AC35 private party drastically increasing expenditure……good
    Give away our airport and reduce a major revenue stream (net)….good
    Freeze the Civil Servant pay since 2008 then cut again and again while still claiming they are not making a good enough sacrifice, calling ALL of them lazy and other denigrating names…good
    Vilify and make civil servants who are major stimulants to the economy a pariah and second class citizens while they see these huge outflows in concessions..good
    Continue to treat and give expats more rights and opportunities than Bermudians….good
    Not make an effort to listen to the hundreds of proposals civil servant management have submitted over the years to cut expenditures effectively and give ideas to raise revenue…..good

    To all the civil servant haters. Be careful what you ask for in using civil servants as the constant punching bag. They didn’t ask for this. These are people like you and me who looked for jobs in what was considered a good place to work for prior to 1998. All of a sudden it’s a bad place to work for since 1998. Hmmm I wonder why? The majority are the same persons working loyally in their respective jobs year after year, pay taxes, have mortgages and make purchases which the PRIVATE companies benefit from. Yes there are some bad apples. There are also bad apples in the private sector too with terrible service deliveries in many establishments. It’s all connected folks. Stop all this civil servant hating. Some clearer thinking is required from Govt regarding a plan not the constant desperate knee jerk policies.

    • Noncents says:

      @ Just a matter of time

      calling ALL of them lazy and other denigrating names…good- PROOF?

      Continue to treat and give expats more rights and opportunities than Bermudians….good- PROOF?

      I am not an ex-pat but work with many and its ridiculous to suggest that they have more rights than Bermudians. And when did the OBA call ALL civil service employees lazy?

      Its nonsense, and your argument loses all credibility when you throw in gross exaggerations and bold faced lies.

    • Harsh but Real says:

      Civil servants run the various departments at least try, and get payed well to do so, they are the incompetent ones which is why they can’t organize simple things like servicing of a ferry fleet in the off season hence why we renting a ferry for some crazy amount of taxpayers money, I’m just saying!!!

  45. Disgusted with this says:

    If they would of took all the money they made for furlough days or most of it to pay our debt maybe people would really consider another year. From what I understand they only used $5,000,000 so what happen with the rest. America Cup stuff coming in without paying duty if that’s true ridiculous that would help also. Come on OBA you want the average man to take another cut. What cut are you and the rest of the MPs taking? The people want to know.

  46. Get Back to Work says:

    Just walked by, saw thousands of people standing around doing absolutely nothing. The whole event is causing major traffic issues. I sure hope they are not getting paid. Go back to work!

  47. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    Things I wonder about…

    Did the Unions leaderships seriously discuss with their memberships the consequences of not going along with the Government?

    Is it possible that the Union and the Government are in this together? Government says X, Union goes up in arms, discussions ensue, Union comes out at least scented of roses, Government actually gets the concession they wanted in the first place. Everyone looks good.

    Do union members talk to their friends in other sectors who have had to take more cuts than a single furlough day?

    Did Government see the size of this march happening?

  48. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    Other things I wonder about.

    Where are all these people parked? Are they over their time limits? Are they being ticketed?

    What the Government is saying where they can’t be heard.

    What the trickle down ramifications of all this will be in six months, a year, 2017?

    How many union members didn’t attend today and how much work they’re getting done?

    How much work is getting done by non-union employees?

  49. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    Last wonder…

    If anyone from Warwick who usually takes the bus is going to need a ride into town for five pm when I commute.

  50. Trying to Understand says:

    The BTUC has rejected the continuation of furlough days, however, what is their counter offer?

    • Trulytruly says:

      A 5% pay cut. Of course in the end they will take the furlough day as they would be foolish to take less pay and work on the day that accounts for the 5% pay cut. This is crunch time in Bda.

  51. Y-Gurl says:

    Nice visual of the amount of Government workers we are paying for

  52. Islandguy says:

    Cmon Bermudians,WE need to be smarter than this. Has anyone tried to get blood or water for a rock??Im possible, theres NO money in the kiddey.I think the govt is trying to do best for Bermuda. Everyone needs to put there egos and racial issues behind them for now… We are in dire needs.For those that think the govt is pollitricking, you wouldnt want England to step in.
    And as i always state in my comments, i do not support party politics,Bermuda is to small. But ireally think common sense has to prevail here,half a loaf isbetter then no loaf..

    • Anonymous says:

      could not agree more… it’s either take a pay-cut now and save your job; or ultimately lose it in the next year

  53. WYSIWYG says:

    soooo, what happens now to our children if they are told to leave school and have to catch the bus… guess what not buses are running

    • arthur conan doyle says:

      Totally agree – the parents and the kids suffer as a result. Totally unjustified

    • WYSIWYG says:

      And the parents that have to pick up their child now will have to lose their pay because we have to leave work – the protesters STILL get paid today

  54. Skink says:

    Mother nature will be putting her stamp of disapproval on this fiasco by 2pm I bet ;) #herecomestherain

    • Skink says:

      As I said……. It’s raining….. I’m melting…… Union dissolves at Cabinet #unionbusting #mothernaturesway

  55. Frog says:

    Too bad Maggie Thatcher is not around these days

  56. freda says:

    lets take a furlough day from government.

  57. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    Uh oh.
    If people thought they were struggling before, may be it’s going to get a whole lot harder in the near future.

  58. stuck inside the box says:

    Part of the problem is the range of positions represented by the BPSU collective agreement, where some members earn twice what the lowest paid members do. And then there are the differing pay scales and benefit scales of the BIU, teachers and other services. Many of the better paid Government employees would be okay with the furloughs, but the lower paid employees struggle without that pay. A single collective bargaining agreement precludes creative solutions, or at least makes it far more difficult to suggest things like fewer furlough days for those lower down the pay scale, while retaining the 12 furlough days for those that can afford it.

  59. IDK says:

    So with another year of furlough days…. everything keeps incrasing in price, except my wage….. So where does a government worker go for assistance???

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      Same place everyone else is?

      And for the record, a lot of people haven’t seen a pay increase in years, in fact have taken cuts in order to remain employed. You tighten the belt and start to learn that things you thought were necessities were actually luxuries. You make do.

      • social media says:

        is lights, food and rent a luxury because after I pay these I am broke just surviving on about one hundred dollars for the month not all government departments make good money but I guess one hundred dollars I should be happy I still have a job like a few viewers say. If we could go back to the days when 1 weeks wages could pay your rent I would take a week or more of furlough days off to help the deficit. I apologize for the people because I didn’t not go to university to get a better job in life and now I am struggling to pay bills, I never had a car, live in a very small studio apartment, and eat the same meal daily each week but I should be happy I am eating.

        • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

          No, lights, food and rent are not a luxury, but most things after that are. But to be quite honest, you sound as if you’re in a worse position than most actually, but it does make me wonder what a furlough day, financially, would be to you.

          Ah… and don’t apologise ever for not going to university, many of us didn’t.

  60. IDK says:

    Increasing

  61. Just a matter of time says:

    The PLP gave concessions. It wasn’t popular with me then nor is it with me now. Why aren’t we making these beneficiary establishments more accountable and let the people know how they are performing before automatically rolling these huge dollars over and over to them year after year after year. What is so wrong with that? Make this public information and I bet the public’s tune will change in a heartbeat once you see the numbers. You never hear this discussed in detail. Why? Let’s match these concessions with their financial performance. Maybe it’s time to decide that this form of trickle down is just not working without accountability. Why can’t the public see their plans to know whether the concession amounts given are truly justified? Without such, this blackmail and constant threat of job losses (which is all we hear) in order to get these huge payouts have become nothing but a vicious tool to benefit even more IMO.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      I think you’re a tad misguided on who’s doing the blackmailing, and the threat of job loss wasn’t created by this Government, they are just the messengers of the bad news.

      Unlike in the Bible, it’s not really possible to feed a crowd with a loaf of bread and few fish, especially when there’s no more bread or fish.

  62. Truthhertz says:

    Can’t someone come up with a way to furlough the top 50% of civil servant earners?

    Or does the CBA preclude from certain public sector workers from being singled out?

    I understand the workers’ wishes, but something needs to give as our current financial situation is untenable and will negatively affect each and everyone on this island.

  63. arthur conan doyle says:

    Have I got this right? Furbert says the working group will continue? Guess Government blinked first then …

  64. Fluffy says:

    Get rid of some of the education directors/administrators!

  65. Sandgrownan says:

    So, have they gone back to work or not?

  66. Just a matter of time says:

    Rhonda what are you talking about? Those receiving concessions threaten job losses in order to maintain the huge cash injections. Why is everything on the backs of the civil servants is my question. Accountability is not limited to the civil service. You can tell this is not well thought out. Shared sacrifice should be done on a progressive basis. This across the board knee jerk flat rate cut to desperately fill a hole needs to stop. A more progressive strategy is needed now. For instance if the furlough days continue, IF, then make it progressive. A good portion of Govt workers are at PS scales that are barely survivable at the same % rate. The strategy is not thought out! No plan!

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      Few threaten anything. Stating facts is not a threat. I don’t know when people start to think that it is.

      You’re right, accountability isn’t limited to the civil service, but right now the civil service are the only members of the working public who haven’t been hard hit by the cut backs to help save jobs and keep our economy going.

      It’s time they stand up and pitch in.

      Oh… and yes, I want to see more cuts in the higher ups, of course I do. And that can be targetted once this nonsense is over.

      The union group kept the furlough days off the table through the talks, had it been in discussion earlier, maybe a better solution could have been come up with. But they misplayed things, probably both sides, and this is the result.

      From what I’e seen of civil servant salaries, most, if not all, are making far more than most average people in the private sector. A cut by one day a month isn’t going to push anyone over the line.

      If you lasted one year, why not another, or three. The rest of us have been.

      Might mean a certain food outlet might make a whole lot less money though.

  67. Frank says:

    So as a BPSU member I don’t remember ever being asked if we wanted to continue with the furlough day beyond April 1st 2015! Why not? Who made the decision within the BTUC to not agree to continue with a single furlough day per month?? Mr. Hayward/Mr. Furbert I await your response……………..but I ‘aink’ holding my breath?!

    • Dude says:

      4 days pay is better than no days pay, right?

    • ????? says:

      Where you at the same meeting…because we were asked, and it was a resounding no!!!!!

  68. Just a matter of time says:

    And speaking of progressive, now maybe is the time to consider more progressive individual income tax strategies across all workers in. Bermuda….. It’s not right that the super rich keep their dollars, expats send their money home at every chance via wire and Western Union and locals like the civil service are squeezed more and more and Bermudians are displaced more and more. Just a thought. We are becoming a seriously stressed out society and more social ills will occur as a result.

    • Brilliant says:

      The only reason IB is here is to avoid taxes. That’s the only reason I’m here. If you try to tax us, we will just move to Cayman.

  69. Try Understand? says:

    Part of my family works for government. And part of my family don’t work at all and some of them hours cut back working in the private sector. Those who have jobs are grateful to have them even if having to eat crumbs off the table. Anyways, maybe my point is, the US government averted total shutdown many times. So it isn’t just OBA. It’s OBA and PLP that really should be working things out or just have a total government shutdown except essestial services. So what should it be total government shutdown or everyone in the public and private sector working together. Bermuda is already expensive. So, no more furlough days means we should increase taxes, increase customs dutys on everything, eliminate the $200 amount free from customs duty coming in from the airport, furlough days for management only and not the underlying workers (but no overtime hours). I say save the furlough days and then cut all the excess xpenses, increase taxes, make parents pay school tuition like they do in Jamaica and see what happens. Confused yet!?! So am I.

    • Politricks says:

      In one breath you complain that Bermuda is too expensive, while in the next you say raise taxes to make it even more expensive! Taxes increase the cost of living for everyone on island. Not just rich people.

      PS: Eco 101 says – never raise taxes in a recessionary environment as it will only prolong the recession – refer to 2010 PLP tax rise for confirmation.

  70. Anonymous says:

    I am a government worker, and guess what… i had to go to work today.

    I am unionised like the rest of these ‘marchers’ but the reality is if i march or not de furlough is unavoidable. people open your eyes and realise you are still employed..a privilege in this day and age where job security is a thing of the past! read the news..all the Governments worldwide are in a bind…especially other islands our size in the C’bean. the recession is not over..would you not perfer a pay-cut than a job-cut?

    As far as I’m concerned all those people down by Cabinet are on furlough day today cuz they aint working, and so they shouldn’t be paid.

    • Independent says:

      @Anonymous

      That is your opinion, that’s all. An opinion!!

  71. Try Understand? says:

    I meant in my last sentence to not require employees to take furlough days but to cut other expenses and increase taxes and duties and fees.

  72. Shell says:

    I was out of work for 2 year! It took me 1 year to get the job that I have now. If I was given the choice of either taking a furlough day once a month, getting laid off and/or the company closing then I would take the furlough day and throw a party celebrating the fact that I still have a job. If my company is successful then my bills get paid.

    How many of us work with employees who use up all of their vacation and sick leave in the first 3 months of the year and then continue to take time off that is unpaid? Doesn’t bother them then. I’m sorry but while no one wants to lose pay I would rather lose some pay than all of it

    I then had to spend 30 minutes this afternoon trying to find someone to pick up my 9 year old from school because I received a call from a PARENT at the school at 1:30pm telling me that the teachers were not returning to school even though the meeting was over. My husband gets paid by the hour, we don’t have a car, no buses. One of his construction workers offered to pick my son up and take him home.

    • Shame! says:

      Why didn’t the teachers go back to work? Isn’t that illegal?

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      The lot who were out stomping around Hamilton today don’t care about your problems or the fact that you, & many others like you, have taken a serious hit in income over the past 5 years. They are the entitled. They are Government workers. They are people who have a guaranteed job. A guaranteed for life paycheck. They are not supposed to make sacrifices. They are supposed to be kept in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

  73. Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

    The civil service is the only group of people in Bermuda who have given part of their salary to help with the financial situation (not including taxes that everyone pays), yet we are still bashed by the private sector, who has done nothing to help…all they do is complain about us…

    • We help by says:

      We help by having private sector jobs, not taking salary from the government dole.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      Uhmmmm… where do you think the money comes from to pay the civil service?

      Because if you don’t know, it’s the private sector. The non-government employees who have been taking pay cuts, or hour cuts and haven’t seen a wage increase in ages.

      So guess what, not only are we putting money into the economy, we’re also the ones putting money into your pocket… you know, the money you’re not willing to give up a fraction of?

      How about a rethink of your position, once you grasp that fact?

      We, in the private sector, are the ones who have given the larger portion of our limited income, and we’d just like the civil service to pitch in their portion.

      • Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

        Yes, but the public sector pays taxes to so in fact, we contribute to our own salary, it does not come 100% from the private sector.

        • Double D says:

          What does the public sector produce in terms of profit that isn’t procured directly from the private sector?

        • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

          Uhm… well, again, no.

          It does come 100 percent from the private sector, because if the private sector weren’t paying taxes, there wouldn’t be any money to pay the civil service, so you wouldn’t be making any money with which to pay any taxes.

          Basically it’s like this ‘I’ pay to the government a portion of my income, which does not come from government, the government in turn pays ‘you’, ‘you’ then pay the government a portion of your income, the government in turn pays ‘you’, and so on.

          The only new money in the cycle comes from ‘me’ aka the private sector. Otherwise it’s just going to get depleted simply because they pay ‘you’ aka the civil service more than ‘you’ give back. Not to mention products, services outside Bermuda, etc.

          • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

            Now… all that said, I don’t want you to think that I’m not sympathetic to your position. It’s just that I don’t think the single furlough day a month is a huge concession. It’s what? A five percent cut?

            At my previous position we agreed to a cut more than 15 percent and this was after no pay rises in a couple of years. While painful the reason I found it acceptable was that it allowed the company to continue running, and no jobs needed to be cut. This cut went on for more than a year and likely would still have been in place if other changes hadn’t happened.

    • Politricks says:

      Wow just wow. Bermuda needs a civics lesson as many here do not seem to understand how a Government operates or funds its operations. That would be solely the private sector which the Government sucks taxes and fees out of on a daily basis.

      Can’t you realize the contraction in the private sector has resulted in the need for Government to reduce its expenditure. Cause and effect my friend.

      And how hasn’t the private sector sacrificed? The most recent labor rep[ort notes that more than 5,000 jobs have been lost on island since 2007. And not ONE Of them was a civil servant job.

    • Ann says:

      Do you have a crystal ball? How do you know what everyone on the island has given up?

    • Harsh but Real says:

      You sound stupid, private sector don’t get paid when it rains, don’t accumulate 50 plus days in vacation, think about it mate!

    • who done it says:

      If the private sector take a day then it is without pay = less tax revenue… or are you suggesting they work a day for free and give it to the gov’t like a tax… how will that help…

      Basically in the private sector if you apply for a job they are going to offer you less in this market because there are more people applying. So the private sector is taking a hit. Also many companies have done away with perks as a way to save money…

  74. laughorcry says:

    I think it’s a genius idea for meetings to be scheduled during the work week. The children these days are doing so well as at school, that we should cut their school days. Heaven forbid that a meeting be scheduled during the weekend so that the minimal amount of people are Affected. Im not going to go on about how efficiently everything runs on the island, but maybe its time to start thinking about how our decisions will affect others….namely our children. You know, the future of this country.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      please let most of that be written in the sarcasm font.

    • Rise and Shine says:

      The UBP Government should have thought about how their decision to shut down/change an exemplary school system back in the 90′s would affect our children. We all know what resulted from that decision.

      Both governments have made drastic mistakes that created our present reality.

      • serengeti says:

        Jennifer Smith was on the Education board that made those decisions.

      • Trulytruly says:

        It was decided by a joint select committee of both UBP and PLP MP’s.

    • Paul Revere says:

      So when was the last time ACE or HSBC held a board meeting on a weekend?
      Do you really know how silly you people sound at times.
      The only thing that should have happened today, was that the Union heads and the shop stewards meet and then they attend Cabinet.
      Isn’t that why we elect shop stewards.
      There was no reason to pull the workers off their jobs.

  75. Bermudian says:

    One word. Privatization.

  76. Jess says:

    Do you hear the people sing?
    Singing a song of angry men?
    It is the music of a people
    Who will not be slaves again!
    When the beating of your heart
    Echoes the beating of the drums
    There is a life about to start
    When tomorrow comes!

    • Double D says:

      The fact that you equate to a one day furlough to slavery shows how intellectually challenged and shallow you are…

      • mixitup says:

        The fact that you think that it’s just about a furlough day shows your shallowness… These people are marching for their very survival, me thinks they smell reminders of past times.

        • Double D says:

          Marching for their survival? What a bunch of hyperbole!

          A furlough day is much better than losing their jobs entirely as has happened to 5,000+ private sector jobs in the past 7 years or so. That would be the private sector that funds the bloated civil service.

          Past times? More BS hyperbole with no connection to reality. These decisions aren’t based on the color of anyone’s skin as you guys would like to believe. It is based on straight mathematics and our financial position.

          You can put the PLP back in power tomorrow if you guys want. But guess what, the reality of our financial situation won’t change and no matter how many marches and how many times you relate this issue to slavery and scream racism the numbers will not change.

          But continue on with your silly little comparisons and continue to believe that the real world rules somehow don’t affect Bermuda. Keep kicking the can down the road and enslaving your descendants in mountains of unsustainable debt.

        • Onion Seed says:

          It’s not what the country can do for you but what you can do for your country. Make a gratitude list each morning and evening, hug your family, help others, enjoy each moment.
          Smiles are contagious. Laugh and sing. Yes, it is hard to do when wrapped up in assorted fears and daily life.
          Take a few minutes each day to appreciate what we do have.

  77. Just a matter of time says:

    The nasty rhetoric of pitting Govt workers against private which started since 1998 is getting out of control and creating major angst with civil servants. Rhonda your logic only makes sense if Govt DIDN’T SUBSIDIZE the private sector by giving much of those taxes back so to speak!. So in essence they (those receiving subsidies/concessions) are not paying their fare share of taxes like other companies struggling on this island. How is that fair? And how is it fair that this continues with no accountability? Where is the outcry there? My point is that the suffering is happening across the board. Stop making it like the civil servants have not contributed anything regarding sacrifice and assisting the Govt. Meanwhile major industry players are reaping benefits even in this so called period of recovery. I don’t believe Govt will get any direct revenue from the AC35. It’s paying the extra big bucks for the exposure and hoped for trickle down that’s it. Let’s hope that works because last I checked while off island on the east coast recently I asked many Americans have they heard of the AC and all of them said no. Just stating the truth. A better plan is needed rather than pressuring the already stressed civil service.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      I’m not against civil servants, not at all. I just want those who think they are so incredibly entitled that they can’t give up one day a month of work and pay to grasp how selfish they’re being.

      Yes, Government subsidizes some things in the private sector. They do it in order to bring business to the island, and to keep business on the island. Why do some businesses not have to pay certain taxes? Because if they had to, they’d probably be closed and therefore more people unemployed. Privat sector unemployed, less money for civil servants.

      Are you following how this all works?

      The already stressed civil service? Really? More sick days, more vacation days, better pay than most of us in the private sector. I’m not talking about the bosses and owners, except the case of small businesses, I’m talking about the average working Bermudian.

      Sorry. All this over one freaking day’s pay a month so that your coworker, friend, family members can stay employed? So that the next generation will have it as good as we do, because better is out the window at this point.

      Regardless of all the catchphrasing in the speeches, this is not the 60s, this is not about workers’ rights, this is not about worth, or anything racial (because that’s been thrown out there as well). This is about Bermuda, and Bermudians, and our survival as a country.

  78. Just a matter of time says:

    @ Jess. Love that musical! @ Double D. You missed the point as most do on this board regarding this whole matter.

  79. Just a matter of time says:

    @ We help by. Are the Govt subsidies paid to companies a form of a Govt dole? What say you?

  80. Common Sense says:

    why are the PLP bloggers so negative about the investment in the AC? I guess that it is because it was a major coup secured by the OBA and not the PLP. SOUR Grapes. It is however a major opportunity to create jobs of all sorts, and to increase the Island’s income, which will help pay for the salaries of the civil service amongst other things. We should all embrace it and make it work, as we ALL will benefit. It is good news about the possible development of the Club Med site, Do the PLP/BIU want to spoil this? Creating unrest will achieve this.

    • Sara says:

      Some civil servants have it in their head that the government is doing this to pay for the AC.

  81. shutthemdown says:

    get out oba

  82. Infidelguy says:

    Here is yet another example of the OBA government coddling the wealthy at the expense of those on the lower rung of the economic ladder. When is this government going grow some gonads and approach the wealthier segment of our economy and put pressure on them to contribute their share to the sacrifice?

    In my opinion, the Unions are more than justified in their current stance. The government has tried – but has miserably failed – in their attempt to place all of the blame for the current situation on the union members. They and their families have already sacrificed more than their fair share.

    The OBA government needs to get back to the negotiating table and make a concerted effort to come up with a fair solution that does not burden one segment of the economy.

    • steve says:

      Nah, time to privatize. Get rid of all that dead wood laying around rotting the hull. Either that or abandon ship before it sinks!

  83. ABC says:

    sad sad sad why why why ¿ ¿ ¿

  84. Prayerful says:

    I have through this record-breaking number of comments and come to noly one conclusion. Mr. Richards showed contempt for the unions, and therefore the people of Bermuda with his letter.

    On the television programme “let’s Talk”, the unions showed that they were prepared to meet the government. I was impressed with Mr. Hayward and and with Mr. Furbert’s knowledge of the statistics.

    For the Government not to show up for the meeting showed total disrespect

  85. Enough says:

    Go back to work!

  86. Fed Up Bermudian says:

    Where was the outrage when we squandered so much money on ‘Faith-Based Tourism’, contracts with friends and cronies of the ‘it’s our turn’ bunch? Where was the outcry then? We are collectively backed into a corner, and it’s only collectively that we’ll find a way out. Taking the stance of ‘no more furloughs’ could instead put many in jeopardy. Lack of transparency on Government’s part has only created animosity. So now we have both sides thinking they’re the only ones right, and in truth, they are everything that’s wrong. Start with an apology, both of you, and Unions, try to understand that what you’re doing is about the same as throwing a tantrum. There are no more cookies left in the jar. Government, try to be humane. You have to get that there is no Government worker who can just shrug off the loss of a job. Find the common ground, and work from there, instead of both of you being a bunch of arrogant jerks. AC17 has nothing to do with this, most of that isn’t even up front money, it’s an attempt at stimulus. Misinformed, posturing- that’s what this is about. Get to work on a solution instead of tantrums and posturing.

    • jonah says:

      Note to file, government workers did not make the decisions that led to monies being squandered, that was the PLP, and the PLP didn’t make predatory loans to hundreds of Bermudians, that was our banks. Nor did the government shape AIG’s managemnt philosophy and we all know what impact that had on the world and their employees in Bermuda. There is lots of blame to go around.

      Having said the above, I accept that governments payroll is massively inflated and therefore something must be done about it. I could be wrong, however I believe that 20% of the 5000 goverment employees are work permit holders. If that is true, than we are looking at 1000 oppporunities to reduce wages.

      We also cant’s expect only government workers to feel the brunt of austerity. Surely payroll taxes must increase, if only marginally, as there are many people in the private sector that are doing quite well. To include those earning way more than 750k and only getting taxed up to that amount.

      And while we are at it, do we really need full time MP’s or paid Senators? Let’s start with Dunkley doing a Bloomberg and accepting $1 for his efforts.

      • jt says:

        And yet here we are…same problem requiring drastic measures to fix.

    • Islander says:

      they love being lied to – deception is the key word for the PLP

  87. Buses and ferries need regiment drivers …now….better yet…give me a job…I won’t let you down!

  88. Harsh but Real says:

    Give up all that ridiculous vacation time you government workers get yearly, take only 30 days vacation and get your furlough day back, you’ll still have a decent vacation and better yet,ya paycheck won’t be effected, just saying !!! Oh and ya millions in sick pay as well. Everyone is not thinking straight, half you alls vacation is probably 50 days and more, add it up and I guarantee it’s more than the furlough days. Just logic!

    • Islander says:

      and don’t forget the number of sick days while other workers 15 days ONLY for the entire time they are working

    • biggadon says:

      why dont you do your part and donate a days pay a month to the cause and give up your vacation and sick days…. its the honorable thing to do LEAD BY EXAMPLE…smh

    • Onion Seed says:

      Negotiating new agreements to reduce paid vacation days and instituting more accountability for sick days used would help big time.
      Wonder if there are any stats on sick/no show days kept by department or employee. Responsible, hard working union members must be apalled at how others are milking the system, essentially working full time on private ventures with gov’t paying benefits.

  89. Bermudian says:

    Privatize. I bet when they lose thier jobs they’ll wish they had ONE unpaid day of a month.

  90. Harsh but Real says:

    To the government, lead from the front and take a pay cut first, show us how much you care about Your country, and not change either, if you making 6 figures you can afford to have a deduction in ya wages and I mean not hundreds but thousands in deductions!!!

    A good leader will not ask his people to do something he won’t do himself!!!

    • Lawry says:

      Indeed, I’m absolutely sure Premier Dr. Ewart Brown would have done exactly that and some.

      Now, about that bridge I want to sell…

  91. Dreadlocks says:

    The Unions are threatening govt,way to go!

  92. stunned... says:

    civil(?) servants are bloodsuckers bingeing off the tax payers, refusing to let go, and demanding protection for their jobs/existence. at some point – taxpayers will take to the streets angrily and the numbers will surpass the meetings/marchers.

    and guess what – it will be on a saturday or sunday because we understand the meaning of providing value and respect for our employment.

    • Guest27 says:

      @stunned that is a bit harsh. There are a lot of very hard working and dedicated Civil Servants.

      But you are correct, this whole situation will only create animosity between the CS workers and the private sector. Sad.

  93. Cardine Alice says:

    No furlough day? No alternative than “Ready, steady, fire”. Where do these people think the money will magically appear from? Just wish the 4 day week option was used by some private industries before retrenching. Consider themselves lucky to have jobs when so many are unemployed.

  94. jonah says:

    Stunned, and than what? Blood sucking is relative my shocked brotha.

    It can also be high bank interest rates – when they are have been purchasing money at all time lows. It could be IB driving up the cost of living, to include housing, with their stupid wages. Note to file, that group have slashed jobs dramatically and all the while complaining about the high cost of living in Bermuda. That is seriously rich!

    • stunned... says:

      stupid wages???…okay STHU. i need to pay taxes for the lazy good for nothing civil(?) servants(?)

      when i rush up to pay my land tax at 4:55pm and the lazy good for nothing (un)civil (un)servants have already shut and closed up their windows then yes i am the one with the bad attitude. and now they demand that i (taxpayer) keep sponsoring them, keep being their benefactor, their sugar daddy, to pay for their pension contributor and their jobs…

  95. Double D says:

    Who cares anymore.

    Bermuda is finished. Everyone wants to simply kick the can down the road and leave the hardships to someone else in the future. And let me tell you at this rate it will be the very near future.

    I say continue on with the nearly $300mn deficit that we have now. That means by the time the next election rolls around we will have added another $1bn or so in debt.

    As the debt mountain grows higher the interest payments get much bigger and consume more and more of the annual budget. By the time we have to borrow again creditors wont’ be so kind to us as they have been in previous borrowings. That means a higher interest rate to reflect the growing risk of Bermuda and that results in even higher debt payments. No matter how many marches and claims of racism you throw at these people they will not be moved by your threats and will demand payment from us to what is owed to them.

    Wash, rinse and repeat for the next decade and see what the end result is. If you want to see into the future look at Greece or for something closer to home see what Barbados had to do to their civil service as part of an IMP bailout package. I understand one day is tough in terms of furloughs, but the other options are much worse.

    Either way I know the marchers won’t see the bigger picture and I do understand their views. Unfortunately the end result will bring all of Bermuda down.

    • stunned... says:

      this crowd of people who have nothing and nothing to lose will not rest until everyone including them is naked, barefoot, homeless and unemployed just like them. then and only then will they feel equal.

  96. Sandgrownan says:

    It’s going to rain later, then they’ll go home. Thing is, presumably they don’t get paid yesterday and today right? Wildcat strike, so that’s two months of furlough right there. Idiots.

  97. Harsh but Real says:

    Yes, Enough is Enough!!! If all you workers where smart enough you would give up some of some vacation days which you have ample and get ya furlough day back to make ya everyday living better!!! Simple fix!!!!!!!

  98. Islander says:

    Food and Water for the workers – can’t the Union even provide sodas or juices they may as well give dry bread if they are being held bondage by the furloughs

  99. Today is a Furlough Day!! says:

    I wonder how much money goevernment saved today?

    I think the unions should not accept furlough days but strike one day a month,or maybe two.

  100. Destined2Rule says:

    How about they just take away 1 vacation day from these govt. workers! Don’t they get 18 days to start with as a new employee?

    • Really??? says:

      I had to work for 5 yrs before getting 18 days….. its been 8 years, still only 18 days…. so not quite sure what all this about ridiculous vacation days is…. perhaps the practice of carrying over 20 or less days should be changed.

    • inna says:

      The sick leave is the one to get rid of! THe rest of the world gets 8 sick days. A civil servant who has just started their job gets 25. Go figure!!

      SCHEDULE 3
      Sick Leave
      1. Sick leave shall be granted as follows:
      Period of Continuous Service Amount of Sick Leave
      3 months to 4 years 5 weeks full pay
      4 years to 8 years 6 weeks full pay
      8 years to 12 years 8 weeks full pay
      12 years to 16 years 12 weeks full pay
      Over 16 years 14 weeks full pay

      • Sara says:

        This is insane, why not drastically cut this and maybe they won’t need furlough days!

      • serengeti says:

        inna describes the BIU sick days. The BPSU is even worse, they get 5 weeks sick right away, rising to 14 weeks after 4 years employment.

        In the Human Affairs dept, the average employee takes 28 days sick leave every year. In Airport Operations, the average employee takes 26 days sick every year. In Public Transportation, Cabinet Office, Land & Buildings, Post Office, Parks, W&E, in all those departments, the AVERAGE is more than 20 days a year sick leave per employee, per year.

        So they’re apparently very “unfortunate”. Get “ill” all the time, paid for by the taxpayers. While employees in the private sector get 8-10 days a year sick leave.

  101. No to AC says:

    Personally I believe the America’s Cup should simply pull out of Bermuda and decide on another venue.

    I keep on hearing how certain organizations and individuals are seeking to sabotage the AC because of one furlough day.

    Hopefully the AC will consider moving venues (along with all the proposed developments that are to come with it) as it will prevent Bermuda from being shown as the hate filled island we are while also showing some that without outside investment and those dreaded rich foreigners Bermuda’s situation will only worsen. If not then why hasn’t our economy grown since the mass exodus of both expats and locals alike?

    Please AC consider moving back to San Diego as Bermuda does not deserve the exposure nor the stimulus that it will provide. We hate foreigners too much now to hold such an event.

    Congrats to all. Bermuda is screwed financially and socially because of some that believe they can only attain power via divisions.

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      No need to move to San Diego. Move to Morgans Point. More shoreside room there anyway & no need to deal with anything connected to the BIU.

    • stunned... says:

      short of a lobotomy nothing will make these lot see what they’re doing is sabotaging Bermuda’s future. it is disgraceful, short-sighted and just damn foolish. sad because you can’t fix stupid or selfishness.

  102. Go back to work says:

    This is now an illegal strike, not a meeting. I’m sure that there are a lot of unemployed people will to drive the buses and collect the trash!

    • sebring says:

      lol!I applied to drive a bus and I did not even get an interview I guess I need to have a cookie jar look to qualify!

  103. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    It saddens me deeply to see this.

    I used to believe that most Bermudians were good people, smart, community oriented and wanted the best for the island and everyone on it.

    The last two days has shown me a completely different side.

    This isn’t a small handful of misguided souls, this is a large group of people choosing self over country.

    I still love this country, but my faith in Bermudians….

  104. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    Completely side thought.

    If they’re not leaving until furlough days are off the table… leave them on the table and see how long it takes. I’m guessing the majority will be gone by 9 pm.

    • You're too kind says:

      Please, they will be gone by 5:01 pm and off to their homes.

      This was obviously planned as many are sitting out there on foldin gchairs.

  105. Really??? says:

    Govt should have right from jump taken all the “Freebies” given by the PLP off the table. No more free bus and ferry rides, no more free car licenses, no more free anything!! Seniors can get a discount like in the USA. If things weren’t free the money wouldn’t have been flowing out so freely with little coming in.

  106. Ann says:

    Please stay strong OBA the public will come together and fill the void of the workers that don’t want to work, just start asking the public we have many resources we can offer, let’s show them we don’t need the ones that don’t want to work. There are many great union workers that don’t want all this, give them a chance to show themselves, but rid yourself of the others.

  107. and iI'm sticking to it says:

    “To the people who are upset, I understand where you are coming from…but I am not willing to jeopardize the future of Bermuda”

    wow. and you people voted them in LOL

    a dictatorship for real. No compromise, the answer is simply no. ohhh what’s gonna happen next!!!

    • enough says:

      do you actually realize what will happen to Bermuda if we do not get the debt under control, and it’s not the Governments debt it is every person in Bermuda who owes it. If Bermuda goes Bankrupt believe me there will be no Government jobs so what will they all do then with only themselves to blame. I know it’s hard to give up some of your pay but isn’t it better to do that than go down a hole that we will never come back from. I honestly wonder how much these people actualy care about their island.

  108. Terry says:

    Anyone feel like a Dark and Stormy right now?
    I need a rum………………………..

  109. Rhonda says:

    Union says Hey OBA know the furlough days will end in a month…

    OBA says okay..let’s sit down and and work out a plan…

    so the Union and OBA sit down and work out a plan…

    Then the OBA comes back and says… hey Union thanks for the advise on the new cuts… but now here is the ultimatum I have for you …you have to keep the furlough day…and new cuts we negotiated….. if that is not deceitful…… I don’t know what is…

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      Not quite right.

      The oba and union did not work out a plan. The union organisation made suggestions, some of which were not workable, which means an alternative needs to be found.

      Oba says okay, we need to sort this all out and since we’re Government make the final hard decisions.

      Oba looks at everything, knows what it has to do and lets the union group know, in perfectly acceptable business language, that they’re between a rock and a hard place and the furlough days are the only option in the short term. If you can’t agree to the furlough days, we have no choice but to cut things in the only way you’ve left us. We’ve done what we can, the ball is now in your court.

      Anything that happens now, is flat in the lap of unions.

      • jonah says:

        Yup, I agree. Make those 20% ( or a potion of same ) on work permits redundant.

        There are major savings in dem hills…

        • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

          Why those on work permits first? Not saying they should be last either, but being Bermudian isn’t a useful skill or marks a person as a good employee.

          You go to any department and chat with the workers in private, you will find the answers as to who isn’t doing the work and should go. Oddly enough, it’s likely middle management positions becasue they are often filled by people that couldn’t be fired in the past for whatever reason so were put in those position to keep them as much out of the work flow as possible.

          this is, by no means, a behaviour purely in goverment. It happens in every large company.

          • boss says:

            Why not?

            Government says it must slash wage bills to find the money required to save the nation. Reducing the size of government is apparently trending amongst many in the OBA. Soooo, let’s do it!!!

            1000 employees on work poermits in government – let’s start the reduction process.

            Come on now, you can’t have it both ways. Surely you jest!!

            Surely…

            • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

              Again, I say, why those with work permits. Clearly there was a reason they were given the permits in the first place. Likely because there were no qualified Bermudians or no willing Bermudians.

              Let’s cut those who aren’t doing their jobs. It makes far more sense. And yes, if those who aren’t doing their jobs on work permits, they can go too.

              I may be Bermudian, but I don’t see it as a viable skill for any job.

              I don’t jest, and it’s not both ways.

  110. bluebird says:

    And how about the “BUSS DRIVERS”giving up there (14) weeks sick leave which the take as they think they should get as opposed to private enterprize

    • enough says:

      14 weeks, good grief I get 10 days

    • The Truth and Nothing but the Truth !! says:

      14 weeks is NONSENCE,, no one should have that and you wonder why there is no money !! Idiots !!!

  111. bluebird says:

    ONE DAY PER MONTH ?????
    That is terrible as they are already over paid and under-worked.
    I mean how “CRUEL”can you be exspecting one day per month.

    • Really? says:

      Teachers….overpaid and under-worked? Ha, funny! No seriously, what are you smoking?

  112. bluebird says:

    The “OBA” cannot SUCK BLOOD OUT OF A STONE.
    The same way that the Civil Service SUCKS BLOOD OUT OF THE ECCONOMY.
    The Government produces “NOTHING” for all the money they comsume.

  113. bluebird says:

    And the bitching and the MOANING has only started,
    WAIT until they start to get LAYED OFF.
    BECAUSE WE HAVE NO MONEY.

    • boss says:

      I agree. Let’s start with those on goverment employees on work permits.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Nah, lets start with those who don’t do a decent days work.

      • stunned... says:

        trust me, it’s the people on the work permits who are doing more than their fair share of the work and Bermudians know it too. i see it. the mamas have to leave right at five because the deddys can’t be found to pick up the child(ren). the single mothers bear the brunt of having to take vacation days when there are wildcat strikes like today, sick days for each of the children. when they come to work they are often tired, exasperated and unable to fully perform up to their potential. this is not an isolated thing. altho the IB look at this and think this is standard for all Bermudian workers so they hire more permit-holders. can anyone blame them?

    • turn key says:

      love it

  114. AreUSerious says:

    We gonna march down der and not give in. Let D games begin.

    • lemon tree says:

      This is not a game. I appreciate that some households have been hit twice by the furlough. But stop and think of how much MORE they will be impacted if jobs are cut and they are down to one income only, or if both lose their jobs?
      The private sector has been dealing with these realities for a few years. SOme companies have not given salary increases in several years. Insurance and living expenses continue to rise. We have to make adjustments in our lives.
      When did the mentality start that everyone is owed a job?? You have to earn it and then once you have it, you need to work hard to keep it. Sadly, what I do see is the mindset that some govt workers feel its their right to have the job but neglect the reponsibilities. Just have to see how long it takes projects to be done by works & engineering or how deteriorated out Botanical Gardens are from several decades ago. People took pride in their hard work. Now, they do neither!
      We were taught to save for a rainy day. Well, we are having rainy years and if we keep up protests and not working together, we will have a flood and Noah and his ark will not be around to save us!
      Sadly, I am very disappointed in both the OBA and labour unions. If you were children, you would all be sent to your timeout corner with a good lickin from the oleander stick until you learn to work TOGETHER!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE OBA and labour unions, think of the island as a whole – look beyond yourselves. You are collectively wreaking havoc on this island.
      GOD help us all to achieve peace and harmony on our island.

  115. slm says:

    Ok. look at the big picture. Is it really so bad that the furlough days be extended?? Would you rather that or no job at all? Remember this is temporary.
    I feel the health insurance should be paid by the govt and not be deducted from the employees salary. There has to be some compromise somewhere. Once the furlough days are stopped then the health insurance can go back the way it was before.

  116. Just Here Thinking ( On The Job ) says:

    People should be grateful for the jobs the have. There are people out there that would go above and beyond to have the jobs that you workers are feeling sour about only because government wants to take another day from you. Most people out there striking have houses, boats, and cars which are most likely already paid for. Some government workers are still on the job as a result of still having to pay bills at the end of the month. Also a lot of the people on strike find that this time is the best time to take a day and spend it at the bar. $80+ spent at the bar plus the days you’ve missed and the furlough day already coming out of your checks.

    Government I think; always has their minds made up before things even hit the airwaves. I find it hard to believe that government will change their minds about the additional day taken. Would people in the respected sectors rather the furlough days taken or would they rather government see 10+ employees let go from each department in question.

    I don’t know much about politics but I see some common sense needed here. I rather have a job that takes 2 days from me a month than no job at all. But maybe some would rather get their severance checks early, if that makes sense…

  117. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    You know, the Government today isn’t as transparent as it should be, no doubt about that, but the unions are right up there with them.

    did they have their memberships vote on furlough days? Do they use calm clear language without racial slant or misleading phrasing?

    Right now, for all their faults, I’m pretty proud of the Government and hope they stand firm on things.

    I’m appalled by the unions and their followers who don’t understand the position this island happens to be in, and that the request is for them to share the sacrifice in the same ways that the rest of us are.

    This is not to say that I don’t want to see the higher ups in government also get hit. I’d love to see them take a larger cut of pay, but I’d also like to see the big players in the PLP and Unions donate the same percentage of their income into the Governments pockets to pay down the debt.

    This country is going to go down the same way we were born, via shipwreck, if people don’t stop listening to the hellfire rantings of the leaders and learn the facts and do the right things.

    Lord help us all.

  118. jonah says:

    Okay bluebird, let’s operate from that premise,i.e., government employees areunder- worked and over paid. In these circumstances the outcome should result in a reduced work force – which would culminate in mass redundancies.

    Stay with me – there are 5000 government workers – 20% are on work permits – ave salary is approx 70k ( and I haven’t included benefits and their associated cost ) – 70k x 1000 ( 20% 0f 5000 ) and that is my tree hugging friend $70 million dollars in savings.

    If we believe that austerity measures are critical, if we want to survive, than we should start the savings on the backs of those employees that could earn a living in their countries of origin, i.e., those on work permits.

    If not, why not?

    • Jinky says:

      So… what are you going to do when all those countries send back all the Bermudians working and living over there?

      • enough says:

        and claiming benefits from a country they have never put a penny into. Only there because they don’t have to work.

    • ????? says:

      I’m a government worker and the majority of us don’t make anywhere close to $70.000 don’t try to fool the people.

  119. boss says:

    How many government employee are on work permits?

  120. ImJustSayin says:

    We put these people in a position to run our island. The OBA
    & the BIU neither can sort themselves out witch is a big let down to all LAW abiding citizens. The workers throwing hissy fits the leader of the country Micheal Dunkley, who is stubborn and has always had the attitude its his way or the highway… This is a total embarrassment to Bda. The other island most be having a good chuckle at our immaturity. This is going viral and does not look good.

  121. Encyclopedia says:

    Will this lead to an election being called by the Government. They cannot continue effective or practical governance with no workers coming to work.

    • Logical says:

      Well it is possible that they can privatize the services. That would get the services done – and save a lot of money in the process.

  122. Misinformed Fools says:

    I am so absolutely appalled at all of you comparing this to slavery!! Go back home and hang your heads in shame. As for the rest of you…go home and hang your heads in shame. Look at your so-called leader…is his mortgage in danger? Does he suffer from wondering whether he can pay for his next meal? Does he ever wish he could vacation? NO!! Because you…the union member, are paying for all of that for him. Beware the wolf dressed as a lamb. Follow at your own peril.

  123. Destined2Rule says:

    Hey look! I wanna work! Hire me!! I don’t mind 1 furlough day per month! #JustSayinng.

    • Kathy says:

      You are right…lots of folk out there with no jobs – happy to take your place!

    • bermy says:

      u won’t mind it until everything around you goes up and your pays remains the same, but don’t forget deductions. smdh you might as well leave the island like the rest of the bermudians

  124. Dopiness says:

    Tell these people GO HOME OR GO BACK WORK – it going to pour down with rain! Hope it washes away all this ignorance! TIRED OF IT

  125. Neutral says:

    Every “Action” has a “Reaction”. The O.B.A will NEVER be able to win another election after this…. Is the premier willing to lower the prices on milk and everything else he sell’s?

    PLP! GET READY….

  126. Sara says:

    Instead of doing furlough days and taking part of someone’s paycheck how about they take or greatly reduce paid vacations and sick days? Is this an option?

    • Islander says:

      bet you unions didn’t put that suggestion forward that is the other $$$$ that they couldn’t put forward to Gov’t

      45 days what
      6 what vacation

      yup $mn

    • College student says:

      And Lower the maternity leave 4 months to 3 months like the private sector.

      • Was says:

        Maternity leave is 3 months. A mother is able to take extra time without pay, if she chooses.
        Please gets the facts straight before you post.

  127. Shell says:

    This is not just about me – 1 person. This is about the future of Bermuda. I work in the private sector and I took a huge paycut just to get a job. It took me a year to find this job after being unemployed for 2 years. How many people are going to suffer if I keep thinking about only what I want. I want a future for my family and if taking 1 day a month off unpaid is going to help in the long run then I am all for it. Don’t think that those in the private sector are better off because we are not. I have suffered right along with everyone else. This action and stubbornness is going to be the ruin of Bermuda. Not the ruin of the OBA. That’s what it comes down to. Americas Cup? A huge part of the cost will be carried by Corporate sponsorship.

  128. inna says:

    LOL, so no Dunkleys Milk, no Silk Milk, no Hood Milk, no Chobani or Yoplait Yogurt?? Theres going to be some seriously lactose deficient workers around this island!!

  129. Bermudian (Original) says:

    They’re all gonna be out sick next week because they caught cold from sitting in the rain. SMH.

  130. Johnnie B Goode says:

    Do a Reagan and fire them all. I need a job and i will take ANYTHING in fact you can include TWO furlough days or MORE!

  131. Tony says:

    Interesting that the strikers are being sent home for the day at 3pm. So, just a normal day’s “work” then.

  132. Island says:

    OMG…Can I just go back to work already?! My students and I were doing some interesting art this year.

  133. Devonshire Devils Advocate says:

    You all sound ignorant now. You are protesting the same thing that saved your jobs. I know many people in the private sector who would gladly give up one day’s pay and keep a full time job. Stand stron mr. Premier. You are doing what’s wright for the county!

    • Say What? says:

      Name these people because I am surely not one of them..

    • Voter (original) says:

      There are a lot of people in the private sector who have gone to a four day week. I am one but still work five because my workload hasn’t decreased……….

  134. Anyone Know? says:

    Any info on whether the bus drivers are going back to work tonight/tomorrow morning before the “meeting”, or is this officially an illegal strike?

  135. Jenny says:

    Also hard for the union workers in what appears to be the minority that would willingly continue to keep the current agreement of an unpaid day a month in order to keep their own jobs and their co-workers. But it is also a very hard position for those people as the schools have been closed…so even if they want to go to work they can’t! And therefore they will take the no pay for the strike action that they don’t even want. They are also being held “hostage” here with no say as majority rules. Or as I have heard many say…there seems to have never been a vote on whether the membership even wanted to agree or disagree!!

    • positivity says:

      Curious as to the numbers on how many are actually in agreement with furlough days to avoid job cuts.

  136. shutthemdown says:

    wait a second……

    hmmm

    I work in the private sector and

    : I get 4 weeks vacation AFTER 10 years
    : I get accumulated sick time to I believe 8 weeks after 20 years of not getting sick

    So why is stuff lied about. No worker gets these things first day on the job.

    another oba lie

    • Logical says:

      Sorry – But where do you work – I would like to work there!!!! I have always worked in private sector and have only had 10 days sick (NOT ABLE TO CARRY OVER) and 3 weeks Vacations (5 days are able to be carried over ONLY based on approval and must be used in first 3 months of the year). I have worked at 4 companies and this has always been the case – so wherever you work is being overly generous!

  137. What needs to happen is for a good portion of the over paid , under worked , with bad attitudes civil workers come and work in the private sector jobs and really suffer the pain of less work hours , less benefits and a lot less pay . That is what you call suffering . Civil servants are living high on the Hog if you know what I mean !! Come and try living on our wages !!!!!

  138. Just asking??? says:

    How many of the non government workers are willing to give up a day without pay? I’m just asking???

    • 1+1=11 says:

      I’m pretty sure most would take it if it ment their jobs and their coworkers jobs were safe….but most are not given that option. Basically if an employer can’t afford to keep you, YA GONE!

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      Did that, thankyouverymuch.

  139. Frustrated Parent says:

    PLEASE! For the sake of the children – let them go back to school!

    No matter what you feel about the whole situation, it is OUR CHILDREN who are going to be left behind because they are missing out on their education, the very thing that will carry them forward in the world. And the so-called “education” they’ll get from watching this whole fiasco (ON BOTH SIDES) is not going to benefit them in any way…

    Teachers – please remember why it is you decided on this profession!

  140. Spoons says:

    Education is far, far, far too important to be dealt with by the likes of politicians, who will ALWAYS have an ‘other’ agenda, which is to be re-elected. Doesn’t matter what Political Party. We should be pouring money IN to education, not OUT of it. If we really want to be more self-reliant on our own workforce, rather than bringing in expats with high salaries and benefits, then we need to provide our children with a second-to-none educational experience. How can we do that if we continue to target education for cuts?
    Seems a bit like a dog trying to chase its tail.

  141. Dontworryboutathing says:

    This is all orchestrated by the PLP/BIU to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Belco riots.

  142. The Truth and Nothing but the Truth !! says:

    The Truth is this had to come to a head because the OBA are making headway and the PLP/BIU/PC/BTUC don`t like it.

    Stand firm OBA, DON`T give in to the very people who bankrupt the Country!!!!!!!!!!

  143. Government workers are complaining about one furlough day a month. What about hotel workers who are laid off for weeks because the Island has not yet been marketed as an all year destination. Where is Chris Furbert when we need him to speak on our behalf? It would be something if America’s Cup pulled out tomorrow morning and instead took the event to San Diego.

    GO BACK TO WORK!!

    • Bermudian Momma says:

      @ YOUNG Feb Up Hotel Worker – you chose a seasonal job. Govern yourself accordingly.

      • As a Hospitality Management graduate, thats why the country will never get ahead with attitudes like yours. Oh and by the way, I LOVE MY JOB and am concerned about the global reputation of Bermuda.

      • As a Hospitality Management graduate, I LOVE my job and care about the global reputation of the Island. With attitudes like yours, the country will never move forward. Govern yourself accordingly.

  144. LOL says:

    DONT YOU NEED A PERMIT TO CAMP ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY

  145. Chaos Theory says:

    Damn, looks like Cup Match on the cabinet grounds. Next thing, the GenSets and large screen TV’s will be moved in.

  146. D says:

    stand up 4 ya rights! Oba is making our pockets suffer ok

  147. Nojobs says:

    Both my wife & I worked in the private sector, we are now both unemployed. We wish that we worked in Government, have furlough days but have a paid job, health insurance and pension. Fire any of them and we’ll take any Government job that at half pay but would like to get insurance if we can.

  148. more than enough says:

    Well there you have it. Just watched lets talk where the f f finance minister admitted that it was the policy (furlough days) proposed by the unions and agreed on and carried out by the workers, is the only reason that they (oba) were able to keep their election promise of no gov. lay offs. I do believe thanks are in order. It would seem that the oba are out of ideas. I suggest that if they want furloughs to stay, match the 37 million in savings first… Dump the airport plans, legalize ganja, we’ll be better off financially this way. Our no. 1 customer base (america) loves weed. And consider cuba… how many tourists are flocking there from the usa, i very much doubt they have a modern airport, or much else for that matter! That stuff don’t impress everyone, very few in fact, the 1%r’s and the wannabe’s.

    • Guest27 says:

      @more than enough. Who cares who came up with the concept of Furlough Days? It worked to ensure no government jobs lost! Now the government is asking for a repeat of that same agreement to again…you guessed it…ensure no government jobs lost!

      And you making the statement to dump the airport, but America loves ganja…that just speaks volumes. So you think that all 300 million plus Americans love ganja? Do you think that IB will stick around in Bermuda if we legalized ganja tomorrow? And what of the airport that you want to dump? You do realize that it’s falling apart right? And that it’s insect infested right? How about the asbestos that’s still there?

      As for Cuba…do some reading.

      • Sara says:

        What does IB staying here have to do with marijuana legalization? There are a couple of states in the US where marijuana has already been legalized so I am not following your logic.

  149. Confused says:

    I’m confused….. Is this a protest or a party?

  150. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    So… no furlough days, but days to strike/nights to party are okay?

    Where’s the logic?

  151. smh says:

    I am so sick of the people commenting without a clue as to what they are talking about. You people act like this is something new. Cs have sacrificed ALREADY. Instead of letting people get laid off they agreed with this day off every month. For someone who has no kids and are not struggling one day off a month? Thats fine. But what about those who live paycheck to paycheck? When this came into effect I know many people who had to not just give up a day, they had to go out and get a 2nd some even 3rd job just to make ends meet! Now these people were “told” it would end after a period of time. Now that the time has come these people can finally breath. They can finally have that money back in there pockets. Imagine how they felt when hearing that this may not happen. How would you feel?!? Thats not to mention the raise in health care by 38%! (19% this year 19 more next year) so no to the money you were told you would get back plus a rise in healthcare. They should just accept it right? Before you judge remember there are more people who not just want but need this day back

    • SF says:

      What about those in the private sector who were already working 2 & 3 jobs to makes ends meet and where living paycheck to paycheck? Or worse yet what about those that lost their job now what are they do? No cs has lost their job so far but there are plenty in the private sector who would gladly take a cs job with the furloughs and rise in healthcare premiums.

      Just as you stated civil servents have sacrificed ALREADY so have those in the private sector except they still are! Now you imagine how those in the private sector feel…some can’t get to work, their children aren’t in school – now they probably have to make arrangments for daycare, there is no trash service and you complaining about one day of furlough while collecting a paycheck.

      I suggest that any civil servant that can’t make ends meet to
      reduce their living expenses, you don’t need the latest iphone, 4000 cable channel or carry out for lunch or dinner several times a week.

    • dun says:

      be happy with your job, at least you can be “pay check to pay check”. Many who have lost private sector jobs cant even afford to simply pay the bills. This is ridiculous.

  152. WYSIWYG says:

    “Govt: The Ministry of Education issued the following statement this evening regarding the operation of Government schools:

    “In the interest of the safety and security of our students, all public schools will be closed tomorrow Wednesday January 28th, in anticipation of further industrial action.

    The Ministry of Education was informed by the General Secretary of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, Mr. Mike Charles, that the BUT has asked its members to meet at the Cabinet Office tomorrow at 9am. Additionally, the Ministry further understands that the public transportation system will not be in operation. As such, the Ministry of Education is erring on the side of caution, in making a decision to close public schools.”

    - Ok i get this but… but how about for the single parent, who relies on public transportation to get to and from work and to get her child to school – trying to find an outlet for someone to have my daughter for these 2 days or who knows how much longer, without paying out for a “Camp” if I am unable to take my child to work with me…

  153. MB says:

    They may end up with far worse deal than furloughs if 18 mil can’t be found. It was Government who approved the agreement for CoH to guarantee a US fund to lend the $18 million to a Bermuda developer, now CoH -govt property on the hook for that loan cos no sign of 18 mil! Wake up Bermuda, money going out, nothing coming in. and we are all hurting.

  154. Sick and Tired!!!! says:

    This is BULL-****T!!! So sick and tired of being inconvenienced when you hv to depend on Public Transportation and AGAIN no buses running!!!!! Everybody needs to get it together and SOON!!!!

  155. Guest27 says:

    I’ll say what the politicians can’t…

    This sense of “Entitlement” needs to stop!

    If you think you are hard done by but:
    -you have a $800 cellphone in your pocket you are wrong!
    -you have to put some groceries back in the check-out line yet you have a
    designer handbag on your arm you are wrong!
    -you drive a $60,000 plus SUV and complain about the continuation of a Furlough
    Day so that you and all of OUR colleagues can keep our jobs you are wrong!
    -if you complain about only being able to take one or two vacations overseas a
    year instead of three and four you are wrong!
    -if you are on financial assistance with two kids from two different “baby
    daddys” who are not involved in their kids’ lives, you get pregnant again and
    still want even more assistance you are wrong!
    -if you raise your sons to believe that it is “cool” to walk around in public
    with their pants down below their arses you are wrong!

    I could go on, but I’ll leave some of the blanks open.

    • theothersidebda says:

      What does this have to do with Civil Servants? I agree (mostly) with your points to those who the shoe fits but to imply that the folks who are marching are characterized by the above description is not only wrong, its ignorant. And therein lies the problem…ignorance. And true ignorance exists within both side of this issue, so its not just those for or against. Please note I am not saying everyone is ignorant…most people in this debate are not, but the vocal minority like you scream the loudest. Hopefully, rational heads from both sides will prevail and the matter will be settled appropriately. Until then, spewing your ignorance is pointless and unhelpful.

  156. Good Stuff says:

    Did anybody else get a strange text message from an unknown number saying that classes and business operations were to be normal on Wednesday?

    • Mikasa. A says:

      Yes it was from the college.

    • Lone Wolf says:

      I got the text. Although I am not 100% sure, I think it is from BDA College. If you were/are a registered student. I could be wrong but that is the only place I can think of who would send me a text like that.

  157. Me says:

    Help me out! How is it that people camp out, march & strike for 2 days over a furlough discussion but the same passion is not presented over all the gangs & murders on this island??? I am Bermudian, I am a person of color & I am one of the many persons affected by the down turn in the private sector who was forced to quit my job, lose a home & be creative because of what happened in the economy & you complain about 1 DAY????? YOU HAVE A JOB!!! Your pay is not slashed by 25% or more like the hotels & hospitality industry for MANY A DAY & MANY YEARS!!! Hotels have had furlough right from the beginning because they know if there’s no tourists, there’s no money to pay. But no!!! You work as a civil servant & it’s a right & not a pro sledge! You know what it is? It’s greed! That’s what this island has come too! Plain greed! You’d rather put 1 day & insurance & sink this entire island! I’m not saying that the top of the pyramid should not pitch in as well. It’s ALL ACROSS THE BOARD that should pitch in!! I certainly have had & continue to pitch in my share! I just can’t believe how so many people can march march march, freeze this island over 1 day I& insurance n the public sector when they didn’t lose 1 job this year. It was the private sector. Well guess what? It’s coming! You asked for it & you will get it! There will be lay offs. Then when it’s too late, you’ll say…’Oh, we should have agreed to 1 day & some insurance, because now I don’t have a damn job & I can’t pay my rent, nor health insurance for me & my family because of my damn ignorance!!’ The old saying a half a loaf is better than no loaf at all still resonates to me, now let me grab myself a piece of bread!!

    • Kathy says:

      RIGHT on the money!!!!! We all have to come together for a solution. Better that everyone shares in the loss and not just 500 families who will lose a job if we don’t come together!

    • SF says:

      LMBO!! I admire your passion an you are right on point! Now let me grab my little piece of bread!

  158. Me says:

    Typos above ‘privaledge’ (not pro sledge) & ‘to’ (not too). Apologies as it 3:35am when I wrote this.

  159. The Truth and Nothing but the Truth !! says:

    In the Beach drinking, in Docksiders drinking, do you really think they give a crap about a furlough day ???
    This is BIU/PLP/BTUC/PC not taking responsibility for their actions of 1998 to 2012!!

  160. seascape says:

    Get rid of the extra jobs! They should not be paid for any time they have not worked this week.

  161. Madhatter says:

    The unions are looking out for their members’ interests while the Govt is looking out for all of Bermuda’s interest.

    Not too sure if the same marchers will be able to handle what true austerity feels like, cause a temporary furlough day ain’t got nothing on true austerity! Just ask your fellow (ex) civil servants in Barbados if they would have taken a furlough day over what they actually experienced.

    But I digress. Bermuda is another world to the point where we are immune form financial realities everyone knows that!

    • David says:

      Correct, Barbados got rid of 5,000 government employees in one day.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        You can be sure that CF has never mentioned any of that in his rants in front of a michrophone.

        Never mentioned why & who is responsible for our debtness either.

        Lets not put reality above emotion.

  162. filobedo21 says:

    @ME well said. Yes it is about selfishness. The country is broke and the debt will be paid for years to come by children who are first graders today when the become earners. We have people who are pretending what all this means. Perhaps the penny will drop, when on April 1st Government office doors will be locked and they will have to return home for how many days who knows, and at the end of the month of April their pay check will be a whole lot less than a furlough day. But most of us know that this dispute is not about a single furlough day, it is POLITICAL and the people in the background are hoping to pull a duly elected Government down. But It Ain’t gonna happen. Where was the vote in the Unions for Aye or No on this issue. There has been no vote! Yeah Right!

  163. Y-Gurl says:

    And now other divisions of the BIU have been dragged into this with meetings being called all over the place this morning, DIGICEL hope your paying attention to your intended purchase and the potential shutdown of BTC by the Unions on a matter totally unrelated to any communication beef! building a network on this kind of uncertainty is a bit like walking on ice

  164. Ann says:

    Stand strong today OBA, the people out there today are only a small portion of Bermuda, and I feel strong that all that are there, probably don’t wish be. Please remember the people that voted you in, make Bermuda better and don’t give in.

    • Mark says:

      well said, I wish we could do a counter-march but oh wait, we have work to do and we would lose our jobs if we did!

  165. cromwell says:

    The Bermuda national debt of over $2B was a PLP government method of redistribution of wealth and the OBA attempt to reduce the same concept.
    The only solution for Bermuda to be free of this oppressive obligation is a balanced budget inclusive with a debt reduction program.

  166. Suq Mudiq says:

    I’m sure 90% of the people that are standing out there voted for the previous government that put us into this massive debt.

    There should be a rule when voting: Put your money where your mouth is and who ever you vote for, you foot the bill.

    • Fluffy says:

      No, 50% out there voted for change (OBA) and the other 50% didn’t vote at all!

  167. Mark says:

    What a bunch of numpties

  168. Kathy says:

    SOLUTION – let’s just all pay 10% income taxes. This will cover the budget, the excess in government workers and we can even pay down some of our enormous debt….haven’t we had it GOOD for a long time now? Time to pay some taxes everyone….OR some of us can just agree to take some days off!! God knows the private sector has already taken their share of licks!

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Does that profoundly insightful suggestion come with the caveat that ALL other taxes and duties are rescinded ?
      You do know that we pay payroll tax and hospital levy , both of which are actually income taxes ?

      To add a 10% (or ANY direct ‘income tax’ by name ) additional tax will see IB leave en masse.

      Not only that , but imagine the howls of protest from the crowds when they pay 10% on their $54,000 a year while the over $300,000 folks pay 10% too ?

      Anyway , it won’t affect me as I lost my job a long time ago and have no taxable income .

  169. obasellouts says:

    lol…

    oba is in trouble .

    this wont end good for you

  170. clearasmud says:

    The responsibility for this escalation rest with the Premier because you cannot force people to do things just because you believe that it is in their best interest to do so. The Unions have rejected furlough days, which is their right to do. This also means that they accept the consequences of their decision. If this means that the government is forced to cut in other areas then they should just do it and move on. Nothing is gained by the Premier’s present stand!

  171. kiskadee says:

    I’m confused. Have the actual union members voted to essentially go on strike? And have they voted to have no arbitration? It seems that the leadership has become a dictatorship. If I am incorrect about what the legal process is, please let me know because I find this entire situation to be descending into chaos and the union membership is being poorly served by their leaders.

  172. aceboy says:

    Nobody answering the phone at immigration.

    Well, congrats people, you are going to destroy this island and YOU will be the ones to suffer most.

  173. Kathy says:

    And I thought there was DRAMA in Italy!!

  174. Ber-nudian says:

    How come the solutions that were laid out to the government by the Union are not made public… I think the public should know, and why they were just dismissed by the government.

  175. Let's move on says:

    We all have to sacrifice at some point.. this is one of those moments. please, people will loose a few days’ salary not a job.

    what if you get redundant all those who are not in favor of furlough days.

    then hire those who don’t have jobs but willing to accept whatever is on the table.

    brothers and sisters, if you have solid proof that our government is pocketing money, stealing our money then let’s shut the island.

    But now that no one can provide a better solution, why dont we work with the people who are trying to improve the situation.

    don’t just march and gather around waiting for someone to speak your fate, gather your proof, document what you think is better, make a proposal. dont just stand and speak opionion you heard from others.

    as i said if you have better solid plans, present it.

    don’t just interrupt services and wait..

    children have no idea why they don’t have classes.

  176. nomoremoney says:

    The last count in 2012 reported that Bermuda had about 35,500 workers (from actuaries to waiters) filling jobs in Bermuda. Of these 35,500 workers, about 7,500 worked for Government/Quangos, leaving 28,000 working in the private sector. The 28,000 private sector workers provide the taxes that pay the 7,500 Government/Quango workers.
    Basically 1 in 5 are public sector jobs.

  177. Family Man says:

    The end of the month is coming up. Payroll time. Too bad all those people in the Accountant General’s department that process your paychecks are out on strike. Follow the bouncing cheque …

    I’m sure your bank will be sympathetic when you tell them you can’t make that loan payment this month. They’ve all seen the pictures of you dancing like Gombeys while you ‘stand strong’.

    Somebody will keep bringing soup to you and your kids until you get a paycheck. Won’t they?

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      And the landlords who have mortgages to pay will understand when you don’t pay your rent & the bank will understand when they don’t pay don’t pay their mortgage ontime & get hit with a late fee.

      Some landlords will have a generous late fee built in to the rental agreement. MMMMM…How will you pay that & the rent? Not paid by a certain time, then the eviction proceedings start.

    • common sense says:

      You don’t have to be crass and reveal what you really believe about our people. Be constructive, be an example!

  178. Sara says:

    Reduce paid vacation to max of two weeks and sick days to 10 per year then you won’t need furloughs. Why can’t this be done?

  179. Bermudian (Original) says:

    “Mr Furbert said not to let comments made on blogs and social media to “poison you…”

    Because clearly that’s his job.

    How can the now illegal strikers not see what was only costing them ONE day’s pay has now turned into THREE! WAKE UP PEOPLE AND STOP BEING SHEEP!

  180. Realest_Bernudian says:

    Honestly here is the facts about this situation.

    1. Furlough Days was an agreed position by both parties, BTUC and Bda. Government for a period of time.
    2. Government nor any other employer has the right to impose furlough days on any worker unless agreed to by the majority.
    3. BTUC told government to take off the furlough days which is their given right.
    4. Bda. Government needs to do whatever it needs to do without the furlough days which is making people redundant, raise taxes or whatever else they conclude to. That is their given right!

    The biggest issue that is taken place is people’s rights. And unfortunately the OBA does not see this. Even if it goes against their initial plan of not letting people go.

    The best example i can give to this situation is if Company A decided to give my company (Company ME) a donation for a year (even though Company A ‘s owner is on the board of governors of Company ME). After that year passes I put the same donation in my next years budget. Unfortunately Company A said they cannot provide the donation again so take it out of my budget. I cannot go forth and still include their money within my budget, no matter how much my company needed their funds. I now would have to do whatever I need to do for my company to proceed without those funds. And that would be the end of story!

    No both parties are at wrong because government should take out the furlough days. And BTUC is at wrong for shutting down the island for a simple issue that can disputed within the courts. Unfortunately the employment act does side with their argument!

    • aceboy says:

      There is no money to pay the furlough days. Why can’t you understand that? The PLP spent all the money and chased away the money “bringers”. You got what you voted for.

  181. Black Seal says:

    9 more days of unpaid striking and the situation would have resolved itself. Simple fix.

  182. selina says:

    This matter isn’t just about furlough days. IT’S POLITICAL. Has anyone noticed not a word has come from the opposition on this whole situation. The Union and Government need to get back to the table and work out a reasonable solution. Bermuda we can fix this.

  183. Bruce says:

    OBA stick to the course!! Mr. Dunkley and Mr. Richards – you are SOOO right in what you are doing. I knew this was going to happen sooner or later as the reality of Bermuda’s financial situation is just now starting to hit home with everyone – not just those in the pvt sector. (Thank you ever so much to the PLP!! YOU caused this and you know it and it is now the OBA who is going to have to fix it.)

    OBA – yes, there are many people on Front Street protesting but there are a HECK of a lot MORE of us out here who put you in power to deal with nonsense like this. STAND STRONG!! I can assure you, you have the support of a huge % of Bermuda right now who think these actions are absolutely crazy. (And I know for a FACT that some in that crowd also think it is crazy but are being pressured to tow the line and follow along! Truly very sad.) Those people should work in the prvt sector – which has suffered ALL the job losses thus far in BDA – the public sector has not. They’d know what it is like to be put in place very quickly. Don’t show up for work? Are you crazy?!?!? You’d be fired at the drop of a hat. You have jobs. Be thankful. There are many who don’t. And YOUR jobs are safe BECAUSE of Mr. Dunkley and Mr. Richards saving your behinds by using furlough days.

    All of this is doing none of us any good. I can only imagine what the people associated with the America’s Cup and the Tall Ships Training Association are thinking now about BDA. Talk about shooting yourselves in the foot – and the ankle and the leg, etc. Back in the very early 1980′s as a youth I said then that the general strike that took place (thanks be to Ottie, Louis, Freddy, etc.) was the beginning of the end for BDA. (Remember the tourists carrying their luggage across the causeway and long-bird bridge to walk into the airport only to come up against protestors picketing at the airport gate?? And those terrible scene were beamed around the world by the international press! Are we about to go there again?? I sure hope not.) BDA tourism has NEVER recovered from that awful situation. Greed gripped the island at that time and has not let go since. Mark my words people. Let this current situation carry on and BDA WILL fail – it will only end in disaster for ALL of us. Do not fix this situation SOON and it will then only be a matter of time. You think things are bad now? HA!! We are ALL struggling financially but this will seem trivial at best. The financial results will be far more dire than what any of us can begin to imagine. Do yourself a really big favour – go back to work!

  184. jt says:

    Let this continue for to the end of the 21 day period and the furloughs can be taken off the table. Revisit annually in same fashion as required.

  185. Curious says:

    The most telling thing out of this whole saga is actually a snippet from the BTUC letter detailing the steps they’ve taken….

    “The Minister of Finance then explained that the expenditure targets were not solely his position but a demand of his creditors.”

    In other words.. if you want to borrow any more money in the future, you had better sort your budget out!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Way past the understanding, or what they want to understand, of the crowd on the streets. To them money really does magically fall from the sky to pay them.

  186. Is it normal in 2015 for GROWN ADULTS to march and beat drums simply because they cannot have their way? Is it normal for UNION OFFICIALS to totally disrespect the Premier and his Cabinet by taking control of the Island for multiple days? One furlough day a month and this is the behavior that is exhibited. What about those people that have been without employment for months and years. Get a GRIP people!

    BERMUDA TRUELY IS ANOTHER WORLD 700 MILES AT SEA

  187. swing voter says:

    June 10, 2004 – $75,000,000

    June 17, 2005 – $200,000,000 [paid off in June 2010…]

    December 04, 2007 – $140,000,000

    May 21, 2009 – $45,000,000

    May 21, 2009 – $30,000,000

    May 21, 2009 – $100,000,000

    November 10, 2009 – $80,000,000

    November 10, 2009 – $60,000,000

    July 13, 2010 – $500,000,000

    May 18, 2011 – $200,000,000 [paid off in 2013…]

    July 03, 2012 – $475,000,000

    Lets just keep borrowing until the IMF takes over.

  188. Lawry says:

    If Cabinet including Premier were to take a 30% pay cut, savings per year would be greater than $600,000. If all MPs agreed to same, including Leader of the Opposition and Speaker, savings would be considerably over $1,000,000.00 or approximately the payroll of at least 20 front line Government employees(i.e Works & Engineering, Teachers Aides, Transport Workers, Refuse Collectors, etc). If the pay cut was 50%, even better. Instead, what we have here is a situation in which the Political Class (both sides of the House) are yet again putting opportunism and greed ahead of the well being of the Country’s citizens. So Mr. Furbert, keep up the pressure until the people that keep this country running get a fair deal and “Their Lordships” at the top get a grasp of what it is like for the average worker to get by in this so called Paradise.

    • Hmmm says:

      Wow, that is some math.

      If the MP take a 50% pay cut and that saves $1 mil.

      Then if the Civil Service takes a 50% pay cut that would save us a whole lot more money. We would be out of debt in no time.

      Don’t forget, you still have to work probable 60 hours per week or more, and you have to be available to your bosses (us), 24 hours a day.

      Sounds like a plan!!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Or, using that $1,000,000 plus that you claim can be had another way, it can pay for the interest on the debt run up by the PLP for LESS than 1 WEEK.

  189. inna says:

    impasse, noun

    a situation in which no progress is possible, especially because of disagreement; a deadlock.

    Makes me wonder if the Unions really want to solve this problem, or do they just like the use of big words?

  190. Peace says:

    Take out another loan and let our children deal with the mess. Worked for the PLP.

  191. Show me the money says:

    you wanna know how much we are spending take a look at these REAL NUMBERS and ask yourself why are we spending this much $$$$.

    POP. Gov Debt Debt owed 2013/2014 Over Spending per
    per person deficits year per capita
    USA 316m $18.1 TR $58,000 $1.2 trillion $3800.00
    Can. 35m $35 B $17,500 $5.2 Billion $150.00
    UK 64m 1.5 TR 24.000 168 billion 2600.00 (pounds)

    BDA 60K 2.0 B $33,000 267 million $5333.33 ouch!!!

    these figures all from respective government websites etc.

    We are outspending all these major counties per year per head on WHAT I may ask.These countries spend more in other programs and departments that we will never have or need such as defense and benefit programs to say the least. So we are not just in the ball park but way way over the top on spending per person. Wake up Bermuda or the price of a loaf a bread will go for $6 to $20 if this is not corrected very soon. I feel for the workers I really do, I have friends and family there, but kicking the can down the road will just make things a lot, a lot more worse. We cannot spend like this any more. The banks we borrow money from will just say good luck. Sort out your own problems we are gone…See ya…

    • Show me the money says:

      The graphic table did not come out correctly but in a nut shell

      USA spends $3800 per person in deficit spending last year
      Canada spends$150.00 per person ” ” ” ”
      UK spends 2600(pounds)per person ” ” ” ”

      BDA whopping $5333 per person per year….WAY TO MUCH….why do we need to outspend these other countries for WHAT!!!!

  192. Is it normal in 2015 for GROWN ADULTS to march and beat drums simply because they cannot have their way? Is it normal for UNION OFFICIALS to totally disrespect the Premier and his Cabinet by taking control of the Island for three days? One furlough day a month and this is the behavior that is exhibited. Consider those that have been without employment for weeks and months. Come on people. Look at the long term effect. GET A GRIP AND GET BACK TO WORK!!

    BERMUDA TRULY IS ANOTHER WORLD 700 MILES AT SEA

  193. Open Minded says:

    As inconvient as the stirke is people need to think about how they would feel if they were being put in these workers position. How would you like to lose hundreds of dollars per month while knowing that all your taxes and insurance payments will increase, you will not be getting any raise, along with the general cost of living increasing. While not everyone is struggling there are many of those who are struggling. Why is it that the MPs can not take a bigger paycut as most of them have additional jobs or their own highly profitable businesses. Also why is it that the goverment does not alter the payroll tax rates so it is staggered allowing for those who can afford to pay more to do so as it seems they feel that these workers can afford to sacrifice some of their paychecks the higher paid members of our society should also be able to sacrifice for the good of our nation. What is good for one should be good and fair for all.

  194. Open to solutions says:

    As inconvenient as these strikes are we need to put ourselves in these workers’ position. How would you feel if you were asked to once again give up hundreds of dollars a month of your paycheck while knowing the cost of living is going to increase, you health benefits deductions will increase, your payroll tax deductions will increase and for you there is no raise in sight to help offset your loss in wages. It is easy for those of us who work in the private sector to pass judgement because we know we are not likely to face this type of situation. As an alternative if the Government feels we need to save money why is it that they will not look into staggering the payroll tax rates? For those who feel these people can afford to give up wages you should feel the same about your own. That is the norm in other countries. Why is it that someone who only makes $50K a year pays the same tax rate as someone who makes $200K. And for that matter why can our leaders not be forced to take the furlough days, are they not also government workers? The majority of them can afford to take a pay cut as they also have other full time jobs or highly profitable businesses. What is good for one group should be good and fair for all groups. We all live in this country and it will never get any better as long as things are not being divided equally and government is trying to bully those the can into doing what they want without looking into alternative solutions. Unfortunately not every quick solution is the right solutions for the long term. And no-one should ever be allowed to treat people unfairly simple because there are other without jobs. You are basically saying to the employers they can treat you anyway they want as long as you are employed. Is our integrity as a people really for sale that easily.

  195. Bermuda says:

    Maybe the private sector should band together and protest the actions of the unions. The civil service does not represent all Bermudians, not even close, and who exactly do you think pays your salaries? It’s not the Premier or his Cabinet, it’s the private sector – who right about now are getting very fed up with your selfish and misguided actions.

    The Island is broke. There is no money to pay you all. When that happens in the private sector, people accept pay or hours cuts, keep their heads down, work harder, or learn a new skill to keep themselves useful and relevant and from being laid off. They might grumble, but they accept that these cuts are to keep the company from going under and to prevent ALL employees from losing their job as a result. Our Island is sinking. The civil service is unsustainable. Your options are furlough days or redundancies. Neither is pretty. Neither is nice. I feel for you and your families, but the stark reality is that the money is gone, our debt is unsustainable and those are your options.

    You might see your actions as standing up for your rights, but all you are doing is risking the right to a decent future for all Bermudians, yourselves included. International business provides something like 90% of our foreign income and Tourism much of the remainder. These industries fund your salaries and many of the salaries in the private sector. International business wants to locate in stable political environments and tourists want to visit somewhere where they can at least catch a bus! What you are doing could be devastating to both Tourism and International Business. Stop biting off the hand that feeds you and everyone else on our beautiful island and get back to work!

  196. common sense says:

    Why not simply take the furlough days off the table for now and consider all other options with the view that furlough days can always be put back on the table. In addition when we start with this new fresh approach Government should state clearly that they are looking at pensions, tea breaks, overtime pay, and a possible 5% salary cut to be implemented over the entire civil service over the course of the next year. This should be considered reasonable and the Union will feel respected while the Government will have met their primary objective “maintain a safe, civil democracy that follows the rules of law”. If you can’t engender that type of environment your future investments will say that you cannot govern your people let alone manage money.
    Everybody needs to give a little.