BIU Call On People To “Withdraw Their Labour”

March 10, 2016

The General Council of the Bermuda Industrial Union said they “are calling on the people of Bermuda to withdraw their labour in protest” today, and clearly the call has been heard by some, as both bus and ferry service has been suspended.

The BIU statement says, “This Government has consulted with interested stakeholders and affected parties in connection with a range of matters such as school closures and consolidations and other matters where it was clear that any new policies or proposed legislation could adversely affect stakeholders or members of the community at large.

“Significantly, when the Government recently proposed policy changes on another immigration issue, Work Permits, the Government consulted with all stakeholders who could adversely be affected by the new policy.

“The consultation exercise ensured stakeholders and the community at large had their say on important policy changes that could affect them at a time when the current level of unemployment in Bermuda is having a disastrous and negative impact upon the social fabric of the country.

“The Government of Bermuda has not consulted with stakeholders who represent a cross section of the Bermuda population in connection with the proposed implementation of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2016.

“There must be meaningful consultation that meets the legal standards set by the laws of this island on such an important issue. The Government is acting unlawfully by not consulting with all stakeholders affected by the proposed new legislation.

“It is worthy of note that this change of policy proposed in the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act was rolled out the day after a by-election in Constituency 13 which was held on February 4th 2016.

“The people of Bermuda expect this Government to not only abide by the letter of the law but to also abide by the spirit of the law and follow the settled practice they have adopted in consulting with the people on matters of major national importance. The people of Bermuda now demand this Government answers the following questions:

  • 1. Do you really care what ALL the people of Bermuda have to say on this issue?
  • 2. Have you consulted with ALL stakeholders in Bermuda on the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2016?
  • 3. Did the consultation with ALL stakeholders meet the legal standard for consultation in Bermuda?

“We have met with the Government on two occasions to initiate a consultative process. While we were awaiting a response from the Government we were shocked to find a press release posted in the media with Government’s intention to continue without consultation.

“They make the claim that we have negotiated with unclean hands yet it was the OBA Government that proceeded with unclean hands with this process by failing to consult with ALL stakeholders and thereby follow the law of Bermuda and a practice it has followed previously on immigration matters and other matters of national importance.

“On behalf of the General Council of the BIU we are calling on the people of Bermuda to withdraw their labour in protest on Friday, March 11, 2016.

“In response to the most recent statement by Premier Michael Dunkley which states in part “The Government proposes that the Bill will be debated this session, and should the Bill pass, the implementation date would be later in the summer” in regards to the Second Reading of the “Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2016″.

“Under Section 10 of the Bermuda Constitution Order, come and exercise your political and democratic right of peaceful assembly and protest the failure of this Government to abide by the laws of the land.

You can follow our live updates of all the latest developments today here.

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Comments (31)

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  1. just wondering says:

    As a Bermudian employer I would like to express my total opposition to this – you are damaging Bermuda businesses – Bermuda jobs and putting peoples livelyhoods at risk – protest if you want but to try to damage peoples lives is a disgrace

    • biggadon says:

      Express those same concerns to the Govt too, maybe they will listen to you so we can have Bipartisan reform the…. blame for this does not lay on one side!

      • Hoolieh says:

        They are trying to fix the mess the PLP’s left… Mark my words, thsi too (our current fiscal situation) will get worse.

        You can no longer rely on Government.

        Do for yourself or perish!

        The till is Empty!

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        You can only have bipartisan reform if both parties want it, and if you think the PLP are even remotely interested in anything bipartisan, then you have learned nothing from recent history.

        • aceboy says:

          Exactly. None of the protestors seem to understand what BiPartisan actually means.

          • @ Aceboy. Not only understanding what it means, “they can’t see the writing upon the wall”…Chris Furbert and his “possie” are getting paid everyday u’lot stay off of work :-(

            • By the way, I see several who have been retired from a Government job along with other lines of work; people like Staurt Hollis and a few so call “christian” all stood out. As for that make believe Rev. Nicholas Tweed, who by the way should be deported because he’s not a Bermudian either…he also is on a work permit, yes to preach in a church and not ruff-up peoples by their collars…

  2. archy says:

    Do they realise that long-term residents, ex-pats, those with PRCs etc are the ones paying taxes to ensure no-one in Government is laid off, unlike about 3,500 people in the private sector, whose operations are again being disrupted by unauthorized industrial action.

    • archy says:

      I think also it is time for legislation which demands a secret ballot of all union members with a majority in favour of action before any action can be taken.
      These wildcat walkouts have to stop. It is selfish and harmful to Bermudians as well as expats.

  3. LiarLiar says:

    “The Government is acting unlawfully by not consulting with all stakeholders affected by the proposed new legislation.”

    Can the BIU please refer to the law which the Government has broken/not followed by this process?

    During the PLP’s reign they amended the immigration legislation at least 10 times.

    Yet no cries of bipartisanship or work stoppages work occurred.

    Strange.

    • Unbelievable says:

      They never want to ask the PLP anything. That’s who you should be protesting.

  4. Foreigners not the issue says:

    Ok….a strike which is designed to disrupt the country…about a policy designed to benefit the country…Who holding who back?

    Youth attacked for and iPad….elderly women held up at gun point etc etc in the past few days, BUt no no let’s focus on this more important issue…..lol. Let’s strike about foreigners who are boosting your economy because Bermudian on Bermudian crime is ok and is less of an issue.

    SMH. This is sad tho.

  5. aceboy says:

    Withdraw pay then. No workie no payee. Keep it up and withdraw their jobs. The public need to be told which doctor is signing all the sick notes that LaVerne is saying people should obtain.

    • Pete says:

      NO UNION DUES Too!! Watch the pay week, the Unions get their money
      at the expense of the workers who will go without!

  6. Just the Tip says:

    So can we get that 18 million back please

    • Just the Tip says:

      Sorry I was wrong, as some one posted below it was 6.8 million. So can we have that back

  7. Lois Frederick says:

    That’s illegal. Not that they seem to care. They will face the legal consequences.

  8. Joey-Bag-O'Doughnuts says:

    The BIU has also instructed rank and file saying “even if you are not working, we still expect you to pay your dues.

  9. JD says:

    Doesn’t the BIU have to give 72hrs notice?

    “The agreement made between the Bermuda Government and the Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) on May 14, 2009 called for the BIU to give up to 72 hours notice of a strike in return for the Government forgiving Union Assets Holding’s obligation to pay $6.8 million owed under a performance bond due when the Berkeley school project failed”

    http://bernews.com/2011/02/no-21-day-strike-notice-72-hours/

    So it looks like the leadership of the BIU have not lived up to their end of the bargain. Can we get our $6.8m back then? Maybe put it into a fund to help deserving students pay for college?

    • Pete says:

      The Sad truth is, this is not even a labour dispute issue ?

  10. Dave Jones says:

    This story should be in the crimes section

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Lets hope that legal moves are already in the works. If employers had shut employees out the union would have filed papers hours ago.

  11. Lets be real says:

    Lets all hold hands and say this together….***** the BIU. Bunch of people making life harder for all of us.

  12. birdlegs says:

    My company will be leaving Bermuda next week, we cannot put up with this irresponsible attitude any longer. Your ship is sinking and you are just not interested in bailing the ship (island) out of its mess.

  13. jahstice says:

    Pay your dues union workers, Chris and Laverne need their big paycheques.

  14. Jack de ripper says:

    So are the foreigners working under these unions asked to join you too? Come out to fight a policy that would reward them for all their years of service to the country? Oh right they don’t matter, no one really cares if they pack up and leave. They’re taking up space, jobs, apts, all at the expense of pure Bermudians. Sounds a lot similiar to “Make America White Again”

  15. ImJustSayin says:

    Those two. Buses and Ferry Service, you don’t have to say work stoppage twice that’s for sure. They’ll stop for anything.

  16. St.George's George says:

    I Protest the Protest. #iprotesttheprotest

  17. Oracle says:

    The action by the unions is illegal.Not that that matters, they have a point to prove and they are power hungry and blind. However for those interested in what is right, check it out yourselves. Section 34 of the Labour relations Act 1975.

    http://www.bermudalaws.bm/Laws/Consolidated%20Laws/Labour%20Relations%20Act%201975.pdf

  18. Sunfish says:

    Do you notice the march, half of them shy from the camera`s. that would mean they don`t want to be there or are ashamed of what they are doing. Did you notice the numbers, I make it 600 or even less, that would be 150 people for each of the PLP,BIU,PC,BTSU. And the PC supporters are all retired so why are they there if this is a labour stoppage? They are begging for numbers and don`t care where they come from

    Bermudians are beginning to see through the BS of Chris Furbert,Marc Bean, work permit Tweed (who ever that guy is) and Jason Hayward!