BIU President’s 2015 Labour Day Message

September 7, 2015

[Labour Day message, as provided at Friday's banquet, from BIU President Chris Furbert]

As President of the Bermuda Industrial Union it gives me great pleasure to give this Labour Day message.

The BIU family is extremely delighted to have Brother Jason Hayward, President of the Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] and the First Vice President of the Bermuda Union Trade Congress as our guest speaker. Brother Jason was elected President of the BPSU in March of 2014 and he has shown that he has a ”Willingness to lead”.

Chris Furbert message labour day

The year has been a very challenging year for the Trade Union movement because the Minister of Home Affairs, with the support of the OBA Government has taken five of the Unions to court to seek a final injunction restraining the Unions from future industrial action.

The action of the government attempts to attack the most fundamental right of labour, to exercise control over providing or withholding labour in pursuit of justice and fairness, and the protection of the rights of our members. In addition it represents a direct attack on our constitutional rights in that it undermines the right of ”Freedom at Assembly.”

The Minister of Finance is also suing Bro. Jason Hayward, with the full weight and financial support* of the Cabinet, for defamation. This marks a further attack on Constitutional Rights, the right to “Freedom of Speech,” in Bermuda. The actions of this OBA government should alarm all supporters of not only labour, but also all persons who support justice and civil discourse free from retaliatory intimidation.

The actions of this government conjure up memories of days past when the government of the day would intimidate people seeking justice or exercising free speech with threats of calling in mortgages and the like.

All of our members, all labour, and every Bermudian should see these actions by the government as subversions of the constitution and the rights guaranteed by it, and should stand in solidarity with us, ready to resist these draconian measures.

26-minute video of Mr Furbert’s speech at the BIU Banquet on Friday evening

In my Labour Day message of 2014 I called on the Government [OBA], the Opposition [PLP], Employers and the Trade Unions to all come together in Bermuda so we can get our country back on the path to success.

I made this statement knowing that I would not be easy, but driven by the conviction that if we all commit to having positive dialogue in the interest of improving our relationships, it can and will happen.

Time, the ultimate arbiter of all things, has shown that, that sentiment was wishful thinking because the OBA Government has made up its mind in respect to what it wants to do, and how it wants to do it.

Despite the fact that the OBA government has squandered the good faith that was entrusted to it by the electorate in 2012, and has systematically obliterated good faith with Labour by its strong arm and deaf ear approach to government, I still hold to the conviction that in order to wrestle with the seemingly intractable challenges that the country faces it is necessary for All of the social partners to find a way to come together for the good of the country.

In the case of the government, if they are truly committed to unifying the country and representing all of its people, they must now change course, change their approach, and embark upon the mountainous task of restoring the trust and good faith of the people.

As for Labour, and as for the Bermuda Industrial Union, we will continue to be committed to protecting the hard-won rights of Labour, and our members, we shall continue to work, and to fight for the good of the country guided by the principles of freedom, Justice and Equality, United We Stand, Divided We Fall!”

“Never forget that freedom is not something that is voluntarily given by the oppressor. It is something that must be demanded by the oppressed. Freedom is not some lavish dish that the power structure and the white forces imparted with making positions will voluntarily hand down on a silver platter while the Negro merely furnishes the appetite. If we are going to get equality, if we are going to get adequate wages, we are going to have to struggle for it.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Address to strikers in Memphis, Tenn. March 18, 1968.

* Note: The message was extracted from the BIU Banquet programme which was pre-printed for Friday evening, so when Mr Furbert provided the speech, which said, “The Minister of Finance is also suing Bro. Jason Hayward, with the full weight and financial support of the Cabinet”, he was correct in that the Govt. would be financing the legal matter, however on Friday afternoon the Finance Minister announced that he would “not be seeking reimbursement of legal costs from the government.”

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Comments (41)

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  1. bluebird says:

    It is not your consitutipnal right to keep taking from the pockets of the workers of this coutry in PRIVATE ENTERPRIZE.
    It will come to and end .

    • Hurricane says:

      constitutipnal, coutry,and end

      SMH

      • UBP knew they were not gonna get back in so they changed their name and recruited Black Surrogates(according to the SECRET report) and now those who bought into the Bull S!@# are kicking themselves in the @$$.
        Now ya gotta wait for 15 months to redeem yourselves, by then the damage will be done.
        America has Little Italy, China town, Little Havana, we will have our Little Canada.

        • Earth watch police says:

          Plp never gonna get in again unless they acknowledge and apologizes for their shortcomings and failures .Bermudians are forgiving and we will forgive and forget ,let’s all do what’s needed and move on.

  2. Carnations says:

    A government who rules with an iron fist has no place in a modern society. It is cruel,controlling and oppresses it people and cause it’s citizens to rise up against them.

  3. Carnations says:

    A government who rules with an iron fist has no place in a modern society. It is cruel,controlling and oppresses it people and usually causes it’s citizens to rise up against them.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Unions that can’t abide by the laws or their contracts have no place in modern society.

    • Ringmaster says:

      @ Carnations. I think you are right, which is why in 2012 the PLP was voted out. I could comment on your use of it’s but won’t.

    • Zevon says:

      Honestly, do you really believe this sh!te?

    • Earth watch police says:

      I know that’s why we voted them out

  4. Onion says:

    The government just expects the Union to follow the law. Is that really too much to ask?

    • Unbelievable says:

      Exactly.

      • Well the Union, unlike the Government, cannot Legislate Laws to subliminally benefit them (make a law to terminate existing contracts,etc.
        So when a people or entity are economically, socially and politically at a disadvantage SYSTEMATICALLY, the only natural thing to do is RESIST and that goes for every nation around the world.
        Oh I forgot, Bermuda IS another WORLD.
        Be watchful always!!!

  5. Rights for All says:

    Considering the BIU and other Unions represents less than a third of the working population, then the majority are not union members. Why should the majority be inconvienced by the minority just because the minority won’t comply with Collective Bargaining Agreements? Further the Union has benefitted from being released from paying a $10million Bond on Berkley, money that had to be made up by taxpayers, being the private sector. Bermuda was told that release was in exchange for no illegal strikes or stoppages and that agreement has been broken many times. Keep to the CBAs and there would be no need for court actions.

    • The majority are not Union members, but the majority BENEFIT from the Union.
      We would expect to hear rhetoric coming from the Conservative Tea Party Group.
      Your Group is Hell bent on ridding this island of the Union’s so we can have a form of indentured servitude, our Forefathers ALREADY paid their dues and we are NOT going back.
      That’s why you take it out on the Mexicans, Indians and Filipinos as your indentured servants.

      • Earth watch police says:

        We are all indentured servants now and for many generations till we pay off our massive debt.

  6. Maddog says:

    BY THE WAY…IT WAS PREMIER BROWN THAT TOLD THE UNION THAT THEY DONT HAVE TO PAY THAT BOND….THANK YOU PREMIER BROWN AND THE PLP… THANKS…RIGHTS FOR ALL ….PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT!!!!!!

    AND BY THE WAY THANKS FOR TELLING THE PEOPLE OF BERMUDA HOW CARING THE PLP WAS AS A GOVERNMENT!!!!

    PLP FOR THE NEXT GOVERNMENT!!!!!!

    • Anbu says:

      Sorry mate the only people smoking anything are the plp lmfao. By the way typing in caps doesnt help to get your point across it just helps us see how much more of a tool u are lmao

  7. Strike fund says:

    We put your dues up by 17% last year cos banquets at the Princess don’t come cheap you know!

    • Regina says:

      Yet the blind sheeple will continue to follow this guy over a cliff because they don’t know any better (and HE KNOWS THIS!). Exploitation of the uneducated. SMH.

  8. rhonda says:

    I was reading about the Montgomery bus dispute, with great interest in laws that were passed, just not to deal with the elephant in the room. passager number restrictions, raised taxi fares, restricted access to some roads all not to allow black equal rights. I view the oba in the same oppressive way. no law would stop human reaction.

  9. Totally confused. Talk about two faced!! Ok jt

  10. Zevon says:

    Unions are a business. Furbert said it himself last year, when he increased membership fees by 17%.

    • impressive. says:

      Its an entity that has to remain solvent to continue to exist.. No different from a church or a sports club.

  11. Vulcan Trash Cleaner says:

    who cares what he has to say!

  12. Peter says:

    Yawn um going for a bucket a KFC

  13. Young Informed Bermudian says:

    I truly believe the BIU members would be better served by a new President. Hopefully they see this soon and get rid of CF.

    • Terry says:

      Lots of “CF’s” front and center these days.

      Irony.

    • I like when outsiders recommend a new leader when the are intimidated by STRONG LEADERS.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        CF lacks many of the tributes of a strong leader, at best you can say he is a union member that just happens to be in charge.

  14. Pork chop says:

    Pay your dues and keep quiet.

  15. jaybird says:

    I listened to Mr. Furbert’s speech and was particularly intrigued by his reference to the events of 1981, which he seemed to consider a victory for the labour movement? It seems to me that those most hurt by that travesty were the union workers themselves; hotel closures, job losses, etc. What do you think will happen if history repeats itself? No hotels left, IB will move to Cuba, wealthy people will relocate and there will be no jobs for whoever is left.

    Believe me I am no fan of the performance of the OBA to date,mostly for their lack of conviction and backbone in living up to their promises of more efficiency and productivity out of the public sector ( just look at the deplorable state of our roadsides, anarchy with our traffic, ridiculous bureaucracy at the airport, inconsistent garbage collection and so on..

    How about instead of encouraging your members to commit economic suicide Mr. Furbert, you encourage them to do their jobs so well that their services become invaluable and truly essential.

  16. Dontworryboutathing says:

    “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” Practice this at home and people would not be in such a mess. My father always taught me “Stick together as a family and you will make it”.

  17. Dave says:

    Ugly speech. Wonder what the tourist and new Americas cup tenants thought? Best interest of Bermuda to talk with such hostility?

    • PBanks says:

      Perhaps, but it’s pretty clear that the intended audience was definitely not visitors or America’s Cup representatives.

      Time will tell if this marks another step in the (rapidly deteriorating) relationship between the collective unions and the current government.

  18. terry says:

    Saw all the photo’s of the 34th Annual Labor Day thing.

    Not a person off the street was there and look at the diamonds and clothes and persons of interest.

    A picture or more speaks volumes of where the money goes and who attends.

    BIU broke.

    My a**

  19. Earth watch police says:

    I propose that we deport rev tweed since we are proponents of deportation I am not sure but I think he is not even married to aBermudian. I don’t believe that there is not one qualified Bermudian to fill his post .I think it’s time for me to visit the immigration dept and raise hell might as well start a march ,oh just remembered have to work .