Video: BIU President On Post Office Closure

April 29, 2015

[Updated] The decision to close the Paget Post Office was done without consultation with the BIU, Bermuda Industrial Union President Chris Furbert said, asking “is the OBA now trying to send a message to unions that we’re going to make these kind of decisions without any kind of dialogue with the unions?”

This follows after government’s announcement last week that will be closing the Paget Sub Post Office on Friday, May 29, 2015.

“There will be no redundancies as a result of this decision and the four employees who currently work at the Paget Post Office will be relocated and/or redeployed elsewhere,” the government statement said.

“The post boxes will continue to be serviced until the end of their contracts, on December 31, 2015, but customers who wish to rent boxes elsewhere are welcome to do so at any of the remaining locations. Home delivery to all residents in Paget and throughout the entire island will continue.

“This decision is part of the BPO’s strategy of streamlining operations to make the department more efficient and effective. Over the past four years, the BPO has reduced its staffing level by 35% or 82 positions; from 232 to 150. The BPO has also cut its budget deficit from 10 million dollars in 2010 to 7 million dollars in 2015.

union april 28 2015 (3)

Speaking at a press conference yesterday [April 28], Mr. Furbert said, “We’ve called this press conference this afternoon in relationship to the press release that was issued, I would say on Friday the 24th of April that you received in relationship to the closure of the Paget Post Office.

“And the reason why I think this is so significant, recognizing that the decision to close the Paget Post Office was done without consultation with the BIU and people might be saying, ‘well, what’s the real issue” because I think the press statement points out that even though there are maybe four staff members of that’s going to be affected by the closure, nobody’s going to lose a job because they’re going to absorb them in other Post Offices, and as result of that at we shouldn’t really be concerned.

“We are concerned about the lack of respect, particularly when we wind the clock back almost a year ago to date. And I think it was on April 29th. 2014, when a decision was made then to close three other sub-post offices. And in consultation with the BPSU, with the BIU, that announcement was made, that those three sub-post offices would close in six months time.

“But then, Mr. Premier, the Honourable Michael Dunkley, was in the meeting, the PS was in the meeting, the Postmaster General was in that meeting a year ago.

“So you have to ask yourself the question – the decision that was made on Friday to close the sub-post office of Paget as of the end of May without any consultation with the BIU – you have to wonder…where does this decision come from?

“It’s my information from the team that you see flanked on my left and right and behind me – these are all post office workers, with the President on my immediate left and the Organizer on my immediate right. My information is that there was a JCC meeting held on March 31st.”

12-minute video of the full BIU press conference

Mr. Furbert added, “The announcement was made by the Postmaster General about the potential closure of another couple of sub-post offices, but just the potential.

“He went on to say that before….because apparently maybe the Premier and he had had conversations – recognizing that we had just had the closures of the other sub-post offices. He said he will need a year to do the assessment, as to whether or not it’s going to be feasible now to close the other sub-post offices.

“Now, this was said to our team on March 31st, we’re only talking about it about a month later, and the decision that has been made to close Paget Post Office.

“Why the urgency, where is the consultation? I can tell you that last year in April, the BPSU and the BIU was very concerned about the process and how it all unfolded. Last year.

“A year later, history repeats itself. And this time, they just go ahead and not even involve us. And that has to be very concerning…is the OBA now trying to send a message to unions that we’re going to make these kind of decisions without any kind of dialogue with the unions?

“I certainly hope that’s not what they are saying, because if they are, we’re going to be in for a rocky ride, because the BIU will not sit back and accept that from the OBA government or any government.

“Dialogue is something that needs to be respectful and respected by all parties, which includes the government of the day,” added Mr. Furbert.

Update 9.39am: Post Master General Wayne Smith said, “The BPO followed the same process that was followed a year ago when it closed three sub post offices.

“Representatives of both unions were invited to attend an important meeting to discuss the way forward for the Bermuda Post Office. The BPSU were unable to attend and sent two representatives.

“The BIU indicated that they would be there with two persons in attendance. The BIU did not turn up. Attempts were made to determine who would be attending on behalf of the BIU.

“We advised the BPSU representatives who attended that the Paget Sub Post Office would be closed at the end of May and then drove to meet with the President of the BIU Postal Division, to inform him of same”.

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Comments (57)

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  1. Smiths says:

    um…there were no jobs lost – why you need to get your knickers in a twist? You think that there might be an opportunity to hire extra mail delivery people?

  2. C James says:

    No jobs lost, and he is still moaning.

    • Dockyard Lackey says:

      He should have entered the “Town Cryer” event. He would have won hands down.

    • Mockingjay says:

      It’s the PRINCIPLE of the matter, no consultation.

      • Zevon says:

        Nah, he’s just trying to justify the 17% increase in dues he forced on the workers without a vote of the membership.

      • Codfish says:

        Did you read the article. They were invited and did not bother to come. Now they complain.

      • Redman says:

        BIU & principle??? LOL that’s funny.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Yes, principle… but you messed up the no consultation, try no representation at consultation. Going back to the principles, where were the principles about letting their membership to decide what they wanted done about the issue of furlough days or overtime. The principles of good management by keeping up to date on their required financial reporting and accountability. Their leadership talks about disrespect, interesting as that is all they have for the OBA government… and why, because they want a PLP government. Politics, this latest episode shows they believe they the government shouldn’t wipe their noses without permission from the unions. Plain and simple, the unions are responsible for representing the interests of their membership, not setting government policies. The government has initiated a policy that will allow them to reduce an expenditure without job losses. Frankly, with everything the OBA government has done to ensure their members have kept their jobs, the unions should be thanking them, cause under the PLP policy track, the public sector would have shutdown from debt levels that would have collapsed the government’s ability to make payroll.

  3. Casual Observer says:

    The Government does not need to consult with the Unions every time they make a decision. Especially decisions that do not affect your members. They were elected to govern and not yourselves.

    None of your members lost their jobs nor is the building itself part of the Union. So it is simple sabre rattling once again by the usual suspects.

    • Casual Observer says:

      On top of that it appears consultation did take place, but the BIU decided it wasn’t important enough to turn up, but have the nerve to call press conferences to mislead the public.

      Is that the type of representation the members are paying for? Where are the proceeds did the recent due hike going?

      Close the other ones Government if it will save us monies and prevent further downgrades. The BIU has proven they want to destroy Bermuda for their own selfishness.

  4. U pay for it then... says:

    WOuld it be possible for the BIU to pitch in the cash to keep it open while the Gvt brings Bermuda’s financial disaster under control?

  5. hmmm says:

    I find this fascinating……………………..I basically think the union is playing games, trying to use anything as leverage, bargaining or poker chips so to speak. if I were a postal worker I’d want my union dues back for their non attendance and not showing up.

    Update 9.39am: Post Master General Wayne Smith said, “The BPO followed the same process that was followed a year ago when it closed three sub post offices.

    “Representatives of both unions were invited to attend an important meeting to discuss the way forward for the Bermuda Post Office. The BPSU were unable to attend and sent two representatives.

    “The BIU indicated that they would be there with two persons in attendance. The BIU did not turn up. Attempts were made to determine who would be attending on behalf of the BIU.

    “We advised the BPSU representatives who attended that the Paget Sub Post Office would be closed at the end of May and then drove to meet with the President of the BIU Postal Division, to inform him of same”.

  6. jt says:

    Bus schedules…all you need to know.

  7. Family Man says:

    LOL, typical. “No-one consulted with us” – because they couldn’t be bothered to show up for the meeting.

  8. Joker says:

    Dear Mr Furbert

    Our Government office ran out of free coffee this morning. Should I strike for my rights?

    Regards

    Bro Entitled

    • Impressive says:

      So in your sarcastic drivel, you are trying to compare your running out of coffee to persons whose job place has been closed down?? Amazing analogy..

      • Codfish says:

        NO JOBS WERE LOST. Do you get it now?

      • Zevon says:

        It was closed to save costs to PRESERVE JOBS. Do you get it now?

  9. mumbojumbo says:

    Lack of respect?….for what exactly?…just because?….this post office is operating in the red….it needs to operate not unlike the vast and many private interests that have popped up all over the place…comparisons have to be made.A business has to operate in the black…otherwise it is not sustainable….come on you lot…you know this…it is for this reason business is being privatised…ferries are next…the maintenance has to be donevbut time and a half apparently is not good enough for you….there is early morning…and afternoon evening maintenance that needs to be don’t that isn’t for the afore mentioned.This means vessels could be reckless endangerment liability issues…my answer?….hire separate maintenance shift night work…and pay them a straight wage!

    • “This means vessels could be reckless endangerment liability issues…My answer? Hire separate maintenance shift night work and pay them a straight wage!”
      Precisely, that has been my point for the past umpteen years :-(

  10. Starting Point says:

    LOL

    “The BIU indicated that they would be there with two persons in attendance. The BIU did not turn up. Attempts were made to determine who would be attending on behalf of the BIU.

    “We advised the BPSU representatives who attended that the Paget Sub Post Office would be closed at the end of May and then drove to meet with the President of the BIU Postal Division, to inform him of same”.

    once again the BIUplp are found wanting. LOL did the BPSU stab the BIU in the back or did the BIU postal division president forget to update his own union…SMH

  11. Trulytruly says:

    Seems like the biu dropped the ball by not attending the important meeting held about the closure. This is a crawl back for the members to show they are concerned. Why didn’t they send someone to the important meeting? The real answer for these closures is that the BPO is running at a $7 million loss every year. The govt is doing what it can do with the least damage. No job losses. Be thankful and adjust. Many bermudians have no job.

    • Codfish says:

      No mate. They did not drop the ball. They kicked it over the fence. By not coming to the meeting, they expected a delay while another meeting was called. Didn’t work!

  12. Chris says:

    Seriously I can’t believe this BS. He’s full of crap! The post offices no longer process the letters they used to. The people have to travel a little further to work (next parish not a different country). OBA, Man-up, let the BIU strike and go broke. It’s the best thing for the island.

  13. JAYBIRD says:

    Question:.. So are the OBA trying to send a message that these kind of decisions are going to be made without any kind of dialogue withe the unions?

    Answer: Yes

    Next question?

    • “Representatives of both unions were invited to attend an important meeting to discuss the way forward for the Bermuda Post Office. The BPSU were unable to attend and sent two representatives.

      “The BIU indicated that they would be there with two persons in attendance. The BIU did not turn up. Attempts were made to determine who would be attending on behalf of the BIU.

      “We advised the BPSU representatives who attended that the Paget Sub Post Office would be closed at the end of May and then drove to meet with the President of the BIU Postal Division, to inform him of same”.

  14. Ty says:

    Oh gosh…. I smell a bus strike coming. Start looking for other means of transport for a couple of days my fellow Bermudians. It has been too quiet at Union Hall for too long. There was nothing to complain about.

    This is like a scene from Poltergeist. “We’re baaaaccckkk” :)

  15. Onion Soup says:

    Chris Furbert. As usual, much ado about nothing. One has to wonder what he’s planning to do next….

  16. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    Here we go again smfh…

    ““There will be no redundancies as a result of this decision and the four employees who currently work at the Paget Post Office will be relocated and/or redeployed elsewhere,” the government statement said”

    SO WHAT IS THE BIG DEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL?!?! You knew about this months ago…

  17. HarryButtle says:

    It must be their motto – “We’re not happy until you’re not happy.”

    If there was jobs lost then I could imagine a response. But this is a lot of hot air over nothing. I do understand that the 3 workers will have to travel to another location – this might be inconvenient, but it’s better than being made redundant.

  18. ..... says:

    Why does Chris Furbert think that this government (or any other) need to consult with him on an issue such as this?

    Hey Chris Bermuda is broke! That is why this post office had to be closed. No one lost their job as a result. Get over yourself.

  19. enough says:

    he has notiong else to do but moan. we mall new sub post offices were going to close as it was put in the paper months ago so what is the problem, no one is out of a job, so I don’t understand why he is once again up in arms about something we all new was going to happen. Didn’t realize that Government had to get permission from the BIU or should I say Mr Furbert to close the post office.

  20. Computer Guy says:

    “Representatives of both unions were invited to attend an important meeting to discuss the way forward for the Bermuda Post Office. The BPSU were unable to attend and sent two representatives.

    “The BIU indicated that they would be there with two persons in attendance. The BIU did not turn up. Attempts were made to determine who would be attending on behalf of the BIU.

    “We advised the BPSU representatives who attended that the Paget Sub Post Office would be closed at the end of May and then drove to meet with the President of the BIU Postal Division, to inform him of same”.

    …..Pretty much nullifies the whole point of this press conference, no?

  21. Comfortably numb says:

    I could be wrong but I believe Larry David, writer for “Seinfeld”, based the “Soup Nazi” episode on the “ladies” who ran the Paget PO in the 1980′s. You crept in, spoke very respectfully, and, eventually, one of the ladies would serve you if you were lucky.I remember an elderly gentleman remarking they were neither civil nor servants: needless to say, he was not served!

  22. Onion says:

    Did the OBA even have anything to do with this? Seems like the decision would have been made by the Post Office, not the politicians.

    Seems like the BIU are looking to pick fights with the wrong people.

  23. Terry says:

    Well summed up C James and to the point.

    Guess he wants the workers to think he is earning his huge salary.

    Bunch of hot air and just likes the spotlight.

    Bro. Chris; the Spot is still open ………since your out to lunch most of the time.

    Shalom.

  24. bluebird says:

    And the Post Office is still ONLY LOOSING $7Million dollars per year,
    The Government is still borrowing $220Million dollars per year to pay these and all the other BLOOD_SUCKERS who are on the Government Pay-Check.
    Government is bringing in about $900Million borrowing $220Million to keep themselves going.
    But we still OWE $2000Million dollars and the pensions are underfunded that is civil service and government by $3000Million dollars.
    The OBA appears not to have the balls to cut but I can assure you that
    economics certainly will have the balls to cut.
    By the way we have been down graded again,(ie)in reference to borrowing.

  25. Alvin Williams says:

    Death by a thousand cuts by any other name.

  26. Muhammad Goldberg says:

    He’s concerned about a lack of respect when he has organised numerous illegal strike actions demonstrating no respect whatsoever for his agreements with government or the law. Try leading by example for a change Furbert

  27. godson says:

    its his job..maybe..just maybe the workers went to him, so he represents them….Although, he does go too far sometimes tho- peace

  28. Who the “-” the Union suppose to be? No-one loss a job and the sub post office mail boxes are still being used….Stop the ignorance and deal with more serious matters as oppose to knit-picking at every opportunity!

    • Pete says:

      I would have thought Paget post Office would have been the very sub to be closed. The location is a BIG HAZARD. Furbert didn’t moan about Harrington Sound PO, I wonder why not :)

  29. Just in case you may have not read this

    Update 9.39am: Post Master General Wayne Smith said, “The BPO followed the same process that was followed a year ago when it closed three sub post offices.
    “Representatives of both unions were invited to attend an important meeting to discuss the way forward for the Bermuda Post Office. The B.P.S.U were unable to attend and sent two representatives.
    “The BIU indicated that they would be there with two persons in attendance. The B.I.U. did not turn up. Attempts were made to determine who would be attending on behalf of the B.I.U.
    “We advised the BPSU representatives who attended that the Paget Sub Post Office would be closed at the end of May and then drove to meet with the President of the BIU Postal Division, to inform him of same”.

  30. Hmmmm... says:

    The closure of the post offices does not reduce staffing and is no savings to the taxpayer. There is a cost to make changes to the adjcent post offices to accomodate delivery and mail processing operations from closed post offices. Sudden closure of a post office is poor customer service. It is a cost to businesses in the area who have to change stationary, marketing collateral and other materials at short notice. People who might have rented post boxes from other closed locations have to change their mailing addressess AGAIN. It becomes cheaper and less of a hassesl to dispense whth snail mail and put all business communcations online therefore additional loss in revenue for the post office.

    Finally locations that have been closed ( Baileys Bay, St. Davids, Somerset Bridge) are still not rented and are deterioating. How is this more effecient and cost effective to the Government?

    Government and Bermuda Post Office, stop with the smoke and mirrors! Stop pretending to be doing something good for the country which is really ending up in poor service, increased capital costs and loss of revenue! The taxpayer is not that stupid!

    • Typhoon 51 says:

      And just who will you rent these postage (no pun intended) sized buildings to? Admittedly, Somerset Bridge is the largest.

      • Hmmmm... says:

        @Typhoon. Precisely! They were designed to be post offices. The post office was not even paying rental for theses buildings. so where is the savings?

      • If someone wants to open a seaside eatery, Somerset Bridge would make the perfect location for that restaurant…Food for thought :-)

        • Hmmmm... says:

          In this economy, who wants to invest in the business start up, and the renovation of a building when there are other purpose built facilities availbe ( eateries and clubs that have closed during the current recession) – OR does Government take on the expense of the refurbishment to make these building more commercially viable? Again, where is the savings to Government?

          • I believe there is an opportunity there for someone wanting to invest $ in a restaurant. The location is a win-win with the smallest drawbridge in the world outside of your door. There can also be outdoor tables or benches setup at the seaside.
            Granted it will take money to renovate this place but maybe the operator / owner of the restaurant can work out a deal e.g. we fix the building and maintain it for x amount of months / years free of charge…

          • Redman says:

            @ Hmmmmm,

            No electricity & no maintenance of the buildings for a start! Also No W & E taking two months to do something that the private sector could do in two weeks at a fraction of the cost. Lets face it they will not be opening as post offices again anytime soon so why keep pumping money into more facilities than we need?!.

            In times like this you do see business start ups, usually by people out of work or underemployed. They tend to be people who have the skills but no job so some decide to get on with creating their own employment!

            • Redman says:

              @ Hmmmmm,

              I started my business 23 years ago to be exact, part time at first and then made the plunge so why not others?.

              A few of my good friends did the same thing all within a year & during the last recession.

        • Codfish says:

          Fastest way to throw away money? Vote PLP.
          Second fastest way? Open a restaurant.

    • Not exactly says:

      There was actually an RFP on the Somerset Post Office not too long ago. I would not be surprised if you saw some movement there very soon.

  31. North Rock says:

    Furbert, like most of the PLP dribblers, knows exactly what has been asked of the BIU and what information has been given to them. This is all hogwash political rhetoric fed to their diehard believers. The others must be getting tired….where are Bean, Zane, Wayne and the rest of the so called future leaders of tommorrow ? Where is The Mouth that Roared Donal Smith and his buddy the Mayor…??? When the doodoo flies, I guess the doodoo-ettes duck..

  32. Hmm says:

    Some people would do well to take a long walk off a short branch. Meanwhile back on the ranch, can someone please let me know 1. which date God was in the obituary column, and 2, what very stupid panel elected this Furbert joke as God’s successor?? Dude you seriously need to check yourself. The rest of the country is ready to strike until you are no longer the head of the Bitter Idiotic Union! Continue with the drivel and wait for it. Bermuda has had enough of your divisive destructive mentality!

  33. The Truth and Nothing but the Truth says:

    Chris Furbert raised union dues when he should have lowered them and D-Guy is feeling GUILTY !!!!