BTUC Calls Another Meeting For 9am Tomorrow

January 26, 2015

[Updated with video] Following today’s gathering by members of the Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC], all public service employees are being asked report to the BIU at 9.00am tomorrow morning [Jan 27].

Speaking to Bernews this evening, BPSU President Jason Hayward said,”Unfortunately we have to inform the members of public service that there was no meeting this afternoon.

“Government was supposed to meet us at 3pm, they asked for an extension to 3.30pm, after 3.30pm they called back and asked for an extension until 5pm.

“We waited around until 5pm when no Government official showed up. They then informed us they were on their way, we waited until 5.25pm, still no Government official showed up.

“So members of the BTUC left dissatisfied with the lack of respect that was shown towards us. So what we have decided to do is, all public service employees are to report to the BIU at 9am tomorrow morning,” added Mr. Hayward.

BPSU President Jason Hayward explaining why they called another meeting for tomorrow:

While not specifically stated if any service interruptions can be expected due to tomorrow’s meeting, it should be noted that today’s meeting resulted in bus and ferry suspension and well as school closures.

For our live blog covering today’s Union meeting please click here, and for all our coverage of today’s meeting click here.

Update 6.39pm: A statement from the Union said, “The BTUC was scheduled to meet with government representatives at 3:00 p.m. today. At 3:00 p.m. the BTUC received a call from Ms. Cherrie Whitter, Assistant Cabinet Secretary, asking for a half hour extension until 3:30 p.m.

“Around 3:45 p.m. the Premier called to say that he wanted to update his Cabinet Colleagues before the meeting was held . After the Premier called, Mrs. Whitter called again and asked for the meeting to be held at 5:00 p.m. instead of 3:30 p.m. Another call was received from Ms. Whitter at 5:15 p.m. to say that she was on her way.

“The BTUC left the BPSU offices at approximately 5:35 p.m. and were informed later that Ms. Whitter and the Financial Secretary, Mr. Anthony Manders had arrived at the BPSU office at 5:50 p.m. As a result no meeting was held.

“Therefore the BTUC is calling another urgent meeting of public service workers for 9:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 27, 2015 to update their membership on the latest developments.”

Update 7.30pm: Saying “In light of the BTUC call for a membership meeting tomorrow morning,: the Ministry of Education has tonight confirmed that all public schools will be closed tomorrow.”

Update 7.35pm: A letter sent by the BPSU to their members outlining the recent steps [PDF here]

Update 7.58pm: The Government issued a statement in response, it follows in full below:

Acknowledging the delayed start of this afternoon’s joint Government/Union meeting, the Premier, the Hon. Michael Dunkley, this evening extended an apology to the leadership of the Bermuda Trade Union Congress (BTUC).

The start of the meeting had originally been planned for 3.00 p.m. at the BPSU to discuss further budget reduction options, including the continuance of the Furlough Day option.

Following the commitment to dispatch technical officers to re-engage in the process, the Premier determined that it was important to convene a special Cabinet Meeting late this afternoon to agree additional specific proposals that would allow the technical team to present definitive options to the BTUC.

The BTUC was advised that the meeting would be deferred until later in the evening, however by the time technical officers arrived, the BTUC representatives had left the meeting.

It is the Government’s intention to seek to reconvene a meeting with the BTUC tomorrow to continue in good faith with its commitment to conclude this process.‎

Earlier today, the Government and BTUC representatives had frank discussions to try and find common ground solutions to some of the issues being faced.‎

Again, the Government expressed its ‎appreciation for the dedication and commitment that the Unions have shown towards this process. ‎

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Comments (95)

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  1. Terry says:

    So you hold the country hostage because you could not wait for them to turn up?

    Bermuda is screwed.

    • Tisk says:

      The inability for one side to see the perspective of the other is the prime detriment to progress on this island. By refusing to acknowledge legitimate issues by the other side, conversation is bound to devolve.

      Imagine this situation happened to you. Don’t you think you would feel a little disrespected?

      • Christopher says:

        It seems neither side want to see anything but their own way. Both sides are being childish with their behavior as well. You have the Union Leaders who like to make everyone on the Island suffer so they can get what they want. Then you have the government turn around and inconvenience the Union, only ticking them off. So now, we have another day where school is disrupted for children, and I am sure transportation will be as well. The bullying tactics from both sides need to stop. Are these individuals not adults? From their behavior I would say No. Adults should be able to sit down, and talk things out. Without having to have all members stand outside the building where the meeting is being held, getting paid to just stand there, while the citizens of the beautiful country are left in the lurch! Government needs to get off their butts too, and find a resolve for this, swiftly! I am tired of seeing so called intelligent people; who are either in charge of the country, or an organization representing thousands, behaving like 2 year olds! Furbert, OBA, take off your diapers and be adults!

    • PettyBDAthinking says:

      Terry if you werent aware of the strory, read it some more. The Government have been stringing the Unions along in relation to updating them on the progress. From 3 oclock when they were origanlly supposed to meet turns into 525 and were still not there? Bermuda is not as big as Wshington D.C. and sespecially when government can demand a response in a letter delivered on friday that they expect a decision by today at 12 noon?! Come on and be realistic. A government representative had ample time to be at the meeting with the officials. At 5:55 you show up and expect to hold a meeting..thats typical of any of our governments… no accountability. A man is only as good as his word. You state a time, make it happen!! And dont change things 2 and 3 times befor still keeping to your word in thw end!!

      • Sees all sides says:

        In all fairness the Premier and Min. of Finance did the right thing by including cabinet in on the turn of events. I don’t believe they were being intentionally disrespectful. It just took longer as some major decisions are about to be made that will affect us all and as such they were right not to do it on a whim or without their cabinet colleagues knowledge.

        It is just everyone is all very emotionally raw still and will take anything as a sleight right now.

        • Saidha says:

          I believe they had ample time to inform the necessary persons. They knew this meeting was gonna be held so if that meant meeting over the weekend then all day prior to 3 o’clock then that’s what you do. What out time isn’t precious? SMH

      • Christopher says:

        Really? It was ridiculous in the beginning for Furbert to demand an answer in under 2 hours. It is also equally ridiculous that government didn’t request from the git go to have 24 hours, allowing for internal discussions to take place. Both sides are being childish twits. These are some of the reasons I am against Independence.

      • Christopher says:

        Government definitely could have been more professional in how they handled it, I agree with that. You did mention accountability. What about the accountability of all the illegal strikes held over the years by the Union Leaders? Both sides need to get their heads out of the clouds, be realistic and logical, and work this OUT! Without making the people of Bermuda suffer.

    • gorgam says:

      Terry it must be nice that you were a Government worker when there wasn’t a care in the world.

    • just sayin' says:

      No comments about the OBA all walking out at the start of a meeting when Mark Bean stood up to blab, even though they all get paid. Yup, our leaders are truly leading by example!

    • Skink says:

      Just like a Maxed out credit card……. time to get out the scissors!!!!!

    • Mockingjay says:

      Govt. Team = Cabinet Sec, Head of Civil Service, Financial Sec, Technical Officer, Administrative Officer and THREE HIRED GOVERNMENT CONSULTANT NEGOTIATORS and all they could come up with is $5 million in their Department while the BUTC came up with $65-85 Million !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • stop ASSUMING says:

      They waited according to times provided by the Gov… still they (GOV) said make them wait longer. Ok cool! We will shut the whole country down because without us it don’t work. .. GOT IT, GET IT – GOOD!

  2. Yahoo says:

    To update them on the latest developments? You just did…

    • sonso says:

      Another march!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      While they have been jilted by a busy government today, the question I have about tomorrow is whether they are going to actually discuss or even vote on anything at this meeting, or is it going to be like today and just another veiled wild cat strike. The real losers in this action, our children, as they forced out of school and less resources to allocate to them when there is less money because the union won’t accept that another year of a furlough day is required to make sure we can pull ourselves back from unsustainable debt. Short term loss if we can get ourselves into a position where we aren’t paying out any surplus revenue to service debt… means that surplus can be used to further our children’s education and opportunities.

  3. say it aint so says:

    Overpaid, arrogant jerks!!!!!

  4. BETTTYTRUMP says:

    Ooh please GOVT team this is important business,stop messing around.

    Workers continue to Stand Strong and together!

    • lucky 7 says:

      Ohh please Betty Trump, cry me a river!!

    • C says:

      I don’t normally agree with u. But I do today. These members fulfilled their obligation with furlough days. Cut the governors wage. The ministers ways. Etc. you found the money for Americas cup.

      • observer says:

        And also cut the Bermuda Police Annual Ball and Police Commissioners New Years Sherry Party.

        Stop the annual bonuses at the Bermuda Monetary Authority; which im sure the Tourism Authority is going to benefit now just like the Bermuda Monetary Authority staff as they are now a quango. As you can see this is not applicable to government quangos.

  5. Quon says:

    is schools in?

    • Truth is killin' me... says:

      are…not is…are…speaking of school!

    • Big Burt says:

      I hope so lol “Is Schools in” lmao.

    • Family Man says:

      Is schools in? For your sake, I hope so.

    • Christopher says:

      Come on, Really? Is schools in? This is why our children can not miss a single day of school. Otherwise they will end up speaking and writing like Quon. Goodness.

  6. go back to work says:

    you all are just being silly now, GOV and BTUC.

  7. Tisk says:

    Wow, showing up 50 mins to a meeting that was already rescheduled twice. I don’t know how that is allowed to happen in government. It sure as heck wouldn’t be tolerated in business.

    The government is doing very little to help their case here.

  8. Raw Onion says:

    Can we have the meeting later in the day? 9am is too early for me and it might be still raining. (sarcasm)

  9. RJ says:

    Completely irresponsible. A meeting today was somewhat understandable, but ultimately unproductive. There is no reason for another, civil service-wide “meeting” to be held tomorrow morning other than to intimate the Government and inconvenience the public.

  10. Observor says:

    Fire the whole bunch of them. Privatize, start anew. Nobody needs to put up with this – where is their pride in doing the job that Bermuda pays them to do?

    Striking, LEGALLY, is one thing. Holding the country hostage, including, as far as I know, its students, is complete garbage.

    • Truth is killin' me... says:

      Speaking of garbage…did yours get picked up today?

  11. Trulytruly says:

    Get on the phone and get around a table thru the night. Get on with it.

    • Yahoo says:

      They couldn’t have a meeting on Saturday or Sunday so the sure as @&$& aren’t going to meet at night. Selfish, all of them.

      • Ian says:

        Regardless of whether you realize it or not, you are the 21st century racist. You’re actually just as bad as your forefathers in terms of the ease with which you generalize “them” and cast animosity toward “them” in a way that starts with the, almost subconscious, viewpoint that they are less human than you. That is your fellow man you speak of. And fact is your position would be much more compassionate if they were generally of the opposite race.

        • Hmmm says:

          There is no reference to race in any of the above, except yours. …it is all in your head.

        • Jus Wonderin' says:

          You really are an idiot bra! No mention of race or whatever above, your just twisting his words to fit your false agenda. By them he meant government workers. You need to go back to THEM at Mawi asap!

      • Christopher says:

        It appears to me that these two days of “Meetings”, are a way of getting back. If they have to take furlough days, well, then they will just have meetings during the daytime, when they are supposed to be working, but they stand around and socialize, and still get paid. Seems they are trying to balance things out, all the while peeing in the faces of the citizens, who are actually the ones contributing to their paycheck. It seems no one can see past their nose.

  12. dtg says:

    so with no bus service. our children will be affected again if we have no way to get them to school.

  13. jt says:

    Just do what needs to be done. It’s not really a matter of choice – we’re long past that.

  14. Kathy says:

    So, when are we going to privatise all public transport?

  15. positivity says:

    Will this affect transportation in the morning and when will we find out?

  16. visitor says:

    Pure ignorance.

  17. Creamy says:

    What “update” is needed? You just told everyone what happened.

  18. learn to understand says:

    I wonder how the people that have commented would feel if their pay was deducted but you were working your regular working hours. I am a member of the public that uses public trans and i am not bothered by this strike. It is needed. Unless you are obviously in support of the nonesense. These people have homes families and bills just like you and those are not going anywhere so they have EVERY RIGHT to strike for what they are working for and NOT recieving!!!!!!

    • Big Burt says:

      So what? You are lucky you didn’t lose your job like a lot of us did (Myself included). Suck it up, you shouldn’t get privileges over the private sector just to protect your job… no…. Survival of the fittest, education and adaptation and your job will be secure. If you are a lazy person then you should lose your job.

    • Jus Wonderin' says:

      Bra it’s either keep with d furlough days or get fired down the road. Which do you prefer? It’s about 250 every month and as far as um concerned you make it up in overtime or PAID sick days and vacations. NO ONE is sick 14 weeks or whatever it is a year they get. I definitely support the cause but ppl need to stop believing everything Bro Chris says. They’ve had months to prepare their **** for govt!!! Don’t feed into the **** they spewin! That’s what they want you to do!

    • Christopher says:

      A furlough day, means a day off without pay. What do you mean by Pay deducted but working regular hours?

    • Christopher says:

      Oh, and Learn to understand, I did have my pay lowered, while actually working more hours in my last job. As an adult, I decided that was not acceptable, and moved on. Same choice everyone else has.

  19. Bermy Bud says:

    Ya the workers are standing strong on the heads of innocent children, seniors, and regular hard working bermudians!

  20. Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

    Given the importance of the situation, one would think the Gov’t team would have been more timely, and the Union Team would have waited a heck of a lot longer.

    I have no clue why on earth, when it appears nothing has changed that another meeting has been called, unless it’s sole purpose is to disrupt things again to show their ‘might’.

  21. Mary says:

    No Terry Government was disrespectful. They said what time they would meet and they kept putting the time back further and further,and they still didn’t show up at 5pm. So if your going to get mad be mad at your Government. United we Stand Divided we Fall.

  22. Justired says:

    I agree with their stance on sticking up for the little man, but a little humility is also needed in this situation.

    Obviously after the events of today the government had to do some quick rearranging and a little patience is needed with progress.

    There might be no need for tomorrow’s meeting if you just listen to what they came to offer at 5.50pm. Don’t inconvenience just for the sake if it or else people won’t be as supportive of your cause. Cool heads need to prevail and thus I implore you to hear out the counter offer (if any) being offered.

    And this is from someone who doesn’t disagree with you.

  23. Dylan says:

    I will admit that is pretty disrespectful
    Straight up
    no making excuses for the OBA they have to honour meeting times
    Why play games it is very straight forward we either cut costs and keep all employed or jobs must be cut
    I would like to hear the 65 million claimed by the BTUC as savings a number is just a number without justification

  24. Yes I says:

    Tough times ahead. Gov’t needs to be more compassionate with their approach. Bermudians (black,white,Filipino,portugeuse, long term residents) and PRCs, this isn’t a time to throw salt on open wounds, but it is time to allow tough topics to be discussed openly. Despite the inconvenience this process has caused on all of us…me included with trying to make a way to pick up my kids using the bus or not, I stand behind the BTUC and will support this process as long as is needed.

  25. Cardine Alice says:

    To those with cars, to those who need to get to school or work tomorrow, let’s stop and pick up those in need of lifts frm bus stops etc. stand strong AGAINST those who want to bring us down.

  26. blindbutcansee says:

    United we stand divided we fall. All for one and one for all.

    • St Kool says:

      Nope, just blind.

    • Big Burt says:

      If you truly believed that instead of being a puppet, you’d care about the “All” part of us, like us hardworking folks who rely on public services to do their jobs. But no, truly you just care about the All for one (you).

  27. JD says:

    Can anyone point me to a copy of the BPSU proposal or provide more details on how they were proposing to save $65-85m? Just curious to see what the ideas were.

  28. Gabbs says:

    Terry won’t you shut up, all you do on here all day is make stupid comments!! Get a life.

  29. Northshore says:

    Jason Hayward found 65mil to 85mil in savings ?? Which is it 65 or 85, what a blank statement. Lets see it ,,put up your unrealistic numbers or be quiet !!!

    • Politricks says:

      But if you read their document it states that upon a review Government officials said the actual max that could be saved from the union proposals is $37mn with some of the proposals having to be first approved by membership. So if they were voted against that number will get further and further away from the $67mn they were originally commissioned to identify.

      Maybe it will be in the unions best interest to post their suggestions.

      • JD says:

        Exactly – I would really like to see the proposals. It seems a no brainer for a government looking to enact politically unpalatable cost savings measures to do everything they could to enact the proposals actually put forward by the Union, gives them political coverage. Assuming of course that the proposals would work.

  30. js says:

    typical government workers

    5:30pm and out the door

    take the 1 day a month furlough deal

    its do or die out here in the real world

    • HeyBye says:

      I do not know about 5.30 pm,what I have seen it is more like winding down at 4.30 pm prepping to be out the door at two minutes before 5.00pm.
      There are many people who wish that they had an opportunity to take one day a month furlough and keep their job.
      They in Gov do not know how good they have it,they would not survive in the private sector.

    • Christopher says:

      From my understanding, the employees have been taking on an extra furlough day, each year for about 3 or more years. Is this correct? I still don’t agree with how the whole situation is being handled, people should be adults and talk things out, Not strong arm people. I would like to confirm this information though.

  31. HeyBye says:

    They are testing the Government to see what they can get away with.
    Government needs to stand firm,especially with America’s Cup on the horizon.
    There seems to be a few,who have a death wish for Bermuda’s economy.

    • thoughtful says:

      People like you, you mean? Sure, just stand strong, bahaha…someone has death wish for this island!

  32. Sees all sides says:

    So the Terms of Reference, of the committee put together at the unions’ insistence so they can dictate the cost cutting process, states the savings to be sought is $67mn. This figure was agreed upon I assume by all parties involved in the form of the unions and the government.

    However, at the end of it all the union was only able to identify $37mn of cuts that didn’t affect the workers financially. Therefore, one would assume the ministry wouldn’t be able to identify any further substantial reductions that doesn’t affect staff financially as that is the largest expense of government.

    So there is a $30mn gap needed to be filled with the minister stating our international creditors demand that some sort of plug be inserted into our coffers. I feel for the minister because the only chance of realizing such savings is to save on wages somehow. It’s nice to think of diversifying the economy, but that will take years to achieve and our debt is now.

    I feel for the workers that have to make the sacrifice as I know full well what that’s like.

    Seems to me that no matter what there will be no winners. The government is trying to fix our broken finances for the sake of us a whole while the unions want to protect their members and by extension their families. No one here is the bad one or the good one.

    Just tough times all round.

    • sonso says:

      Perfectly put mate. I think those are the sentiments of most of us. You have to side with the workers because there are a lot of others in Bermuda in their same shoes, if not worse ones!

    • thoughtful says:

      Great summary of the problem!

  33. ImJustSayin says:

    This Government and the BIU and this country are embarrasing. I’m ready to pack up and leave..

    • kelly says:

      Well just leave we don’t need you here. If you want to stay here than do what Bermudians do and don’t blame us for what we’re doing to save our jobs and lively hood.

  34. X says:

    So let me understand this one … the members are ‘meeting’ about not getting paid for a day, in order to save jobs, but they DO get paid for attending a meeting. Something is most strange here.

    Try working in the private sector – many people to over time and yes, occasionally do not ask/expect to be paid, they see it as a duty and part of being in a company with a decent work ethic. I am so shocked at the continued sense of entitlement of so many people. You do not have a RIGHT to have a job, so if you have one, look after it well – others would be willing to take yours.

  35. St Kool says:

    I used to work for a local company, not union affiliated, who had (and still do have) what they call “reduced work week”. You have to take one day a month off, without pay – and you do it because if you don’t, either you or the guy next to you will likely be out of a job. Sure it’s not ideal, but it beats being unemployed.

    The government needs to start getting harsh with the unions – they run the country, the unions do not. Let them have their day back, but then cut jobs/salaries as a result. They don’t want to listen and play ball, teach them the hard way. Bunch of babies, the lot of them. And now it’s affecting education with schools being closed – people are quick to blame the government for that, but it’s not their fault. I’ve never once seen the unions take the blame for anything – it’s about time for some tough love and to be held accountable for the nonsense they continuously put our country through.

  36. Unbelievable says:

    Hahah you know what this means now don’t you? It means no one’s trash is getting collect dat all this week and all your Govt school kids aren’t getting educated at all either.

  37. Somerset Girl says:

    I agree with Sees all Sides – THERE WILL BE NO WINNERS. FACT: Bermuda is in debt.
    FACT: Credit is maxed out….. FACT: We all are sacrificing.

  38. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    Many of us were subject to almost unbearable hardship during World War Two.

    I remember many of us went barefoot to school to save our only pair of shoes, the same school in Somerset where my mother taught, my cricket bat was a piece of cut board, my roller skates were second hand, there was rationing for sugar butter clothing and yes , shoes, my father planted a vegetable garden, we had chickens and we also had a fish pot .

    During the evenings my dad repaired watches while my mother ground the glass lenses.

    There were many items in short supply as the “U” boats ( German submarine) ravaged the shipping ( U.S. Liberty boats ) we give thanks to our neighbors to our West who kept us going.

    I did my school homework by the light of a kerosene lamp.

    My father and mother each had a pedal bikes.

    “My wife who was only 7 at the time said ” Mummy will the bombs fall tonight”.

    At school here we had air raid drill once a week.

    No body complained.

    We learned how to make do.

    You are only hurting your selves.

    ” Half a cake is better that no cake at all”.

    Go back to your jobs, give of your very best for your country.

    We all will survive this together.

    Yet, you stand in front of our WAR MEMORIAL and complain in front of our fallen soldiers.

    “Mummy, will the bombs fall tonight.”

  39. Full moon in Paradise says:

    A little respect goes a long way. .. Gov.,the next time you agree to meet, don’t have the other side waiting around for hours and then show up when everyone has left. …Now the country is faced with a union meeting tomorrow to discuss what??? The end result….more hardships for parents due to school closures, commuters trying to get to work and the beat goes on! Can’t fault the union as they have held up their end of the bargain…

  40. Family Man says:

    It’s time the Government took over the unions for maladministration.

    • Unbelievable says:

      Co-sign. Or just release the proof of maladministration from their sister group.

  41. Terry says:

    I am sure Government called someone with regard to this matter and not showing up.
    This is a news report from the Unions.

    This not what transpired I can assure you.

    Shalom and enjoy another day off.

  42. Artsy Onion says:

    When I took Introduction to Industrial Relations at university during my undergrad year, one of the things I distinctly remember is to hold the negotiations at a neutral territory. Therefore, perhaps these negotiations should be held in a non-union or government building and at a time that both will be show up promptly & neither has that territorial advantage!

  43. Sky Pilot says:

    It’s time to privatize the Buses and Fire many of the dead wood in the Civil Service and Bermuda Government.

  44. Dreadlocks says:

    No school, our children in the public system will be challenged going forward. Shame on teachers,only interested in money!

    • kelly says:

      You would be too if it was taken from you. Go crawl under a shell and get hip why don’t you

      • Jus Wonderin' says:

        It’s 12 days a year hardly that much taken. quit complaining, it’s better than losing your job isn’t it?! Ask bro Chris or whomever represents you why you don’t get paid nothing and they do and get back to me. You’d be surprised! Lmao whiners

  45. chipp says:

    This is all childish behavior bye o.b.a the issue need to be addressed! How they handling the situation is unruly

  46. Tony says:

    I’ll be at work in the morning doing the job I’m lucky to have and be paid to do. Furbert – just go. Now.