BELCO: ‘Regular Service Has Resumed’

October 5, 2018 | 30 Comments

[Updated] “Regular service at the cashier and customer service departments has resumed,” BELCO said this morning [Oct 5], which follows after they said yesterday that the departments were closed due to “Union action pending.”

Yesterday morning the company posted a social media update saying “with Union action pending, BELCO cashier and customer service departments will be closed until further notice,” and at approximately 9.45am this morning, they updated the statement to say, “Regular service at the cashier and customer service departments has resumed. Thank-you for your patience.”

While the cashier and customer service sections were affected yesterday, the island’s power was not, with ESTU President Donald Lottimore explaining that they “maintained the most essential part of our service at the plant to make sure that our brothers and sisters in the community have their lights,” adding that “we know we have a responsibility to them, even as we think about the other members of this organization.”

The issue began after BELCO’s parent company Ascendant Group announced the “departure” of four senior executives — Denton Williams, Michael Daniel, Carol Ross-DeSilva & Zehena Davis — saying that ”two have resigned and two positions were made redundant.”

The four executives, combined, had been with the company for over 80 years, and they marked the second group of employees to leave the company recently, with three staff members having been made redundant last month.

Yesterday BELCO workers gathered outside the building, and later that day Union officials confirmed that the Electrical Supply Trade Union [ESTU] “will be instituting a work-to-rule and demand the immediate reinstatement of the four qualified, displaced Bermudians.”

“This is the second time in the last 3 weeks that the ESTU had to call an emergency meeting with its members triggered by the displacement of Bermudians from the Company,” BTUC President Jason Hayward said yesterday.

“Over the past 3 years, approximately 20 qualified Bermudians were let go and the current actions of the Board and CEO seems to be ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back.’ Workers are genuinely concerned about their job security and want clarity on the Company’s direction moving forward,” he added.

In a statement yesterday, an Ascendant spokesperson said that Ascendant Group executive met with the ESTU executive earlier in this week “as part of ongoing discussions about the situation at BELCO and the challenges that the company is facing with respect to costs and reducing customers’ rates.”

Update 4.39pm: An Ascendant Group spokesperson said, “The Board of Directors of Ascendant Group Limited today said they welcome the opportunity to meet with the ESTU and Government expeditiously to discuss the current situation at the company.

“The Board will be reaching out to the ESTU and the Government shortly to agree a mutually convenient time to meet.”

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  1. Dont start no S!@#
    Wont be no S!@#

  2. Kevin says:

    I like the way he worded that statement ” we kept the most essential part of our service operating for our brothers and sisters ….really… imagine those employees going home and trying to justify their actions if they shut it down to their entire family, freinds and neighborhood why they would have no power
    That would be a sight to see.

  3. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Workers are genuinely concerned about their job security and want clarity on the Company’s direction moving forward”

    Ok then. Why not buy shares in Ascendant Group (they are available on the Bermuda Stock Exchange) and ask those questions at the Annual general Meeting? Why take industrial action in relation to “executives” who have nothing to do with the ESTU and in respect of management decisions that do not directly affect union members?

    • Anonymous says:

      Most BELCO employees are shareholders and do attend the AGM. The executives let go were qualified Bermudians that have been a part of the BELCO family for decades. They were removed under dubious circumstances that affect the whole company, which is union business.
      The fact is that Denton and Mike where the only 2 Bermudians capable of displacing the current CEO and leading the company forward.
      Every Bermudian should be concerned about this. BELCO has been a Bermudian company for generations and should remain that way for the best interest of all of us.
      To the commenters calling BELCO people lazy- how many of you are willing to work 12 hours a day 7 days a week in the most dangerous industry on this island?
      How many of you have seen a coworkers receive 3rd degree burns in the line of duty?
      How many of you will work in 130+ degree heat with 110 decibels of noise?
      How many of you will work on 33,000 volt equipment?
      Most importantly how many coworkers have you seen die are horribly painful death? 17 people have died working on behalf of BELCO- more than fire and police combined.
      These workers are some of the most highly skilled and educated people on this island. They have all completed many years of tertiary education and can not be replaced!

      • question says:

        They do not work ’12 hours a day 7 days a week’.
        FFS we’re not idiots.
        Two of the 4 people resigned.
        Any other time you’re whining about your electricity bills.
        And when blue collar workers lose their jobs you say ‘it’s never management, it’s always us’.

      • ConcernedBermudian says:

        This is the biggest crock of balony. Your facts are completely false. First off no they don’t work 12hours a day 7days a week. Secondly those that were let go and resigned are NOT union members. You can’t strike on that, its illegal. Thirdly the CEO is extremely experienced and has run some very successful power and airline company. Denton and Mike have nowhere near as much experience. Just because they have worked at BELCO for a long time doesn’t mean they know how to run a company. They might know BELCO well but dat it. The CEO has done great work. You all are just vexed because he ain’t Bermudian. Now get back to work and stop with this BS of striking. There is no need for it. CEO stand strong.

        • Anonymous says:

          My facts are true. A good percentage of industrial employees put those hours in. I see you have nothing to say to the other more important points.
          None of you know the full story and why they were forced to resign.
          When an accountant or carpenter gets made redundant they go work for a different firm. When a lineman gets made redundant he is forced out of his country that he has served for decades. There is no other utility here for these workers. Completely different situation.

        • Anonymous says:

          My facts are very true friend. A lot of The industrial staff have to put those hours in on regular basis to keep the lights on.
          I love how that’s you attack the least important point made as well.
          BELCO workers are not the same as accountants and carpenters who are made redundant. These workers can find equivalent jobs in Bermuda. There is no other place for linemen to go on island. No one should be forced from their own country.
          No one cares about his nationality. He was welcomed with open arms. It’s his actions that are the problem.

          • Question says:

            They do not work 12 hours a day 7 days a week. That is total BS, If that’s what they’re telling you they are lying.

          • wahoo says:

            I heard that the people let go did not request union assistance and are in fact embarrassed by the attention. I only wish that the BTU were as concerned about Bermudians in the AME as they would appear to be about Bermudians at BELCO….You will not answer I am sure.

          • mundulay says:

            Hi there, you should know that although the shift duration is 12 hours, the total hours per week is 40 as per CBA. Every minute of overtime is well compensated.

        • Kathy says:

          The CEO is a hungry man looking out only for the best interests of the shareholders and Denton was getting in his way! The workers are not priority. Don’t worry, Denton is already the focus in the eyes of renewable competitors. Durfy will be sorry that he resigned later on as Bermuda’s energy history unfolds. The fight for a fairer more progressive IRP is not over. Greed will never win.

      • LaV says:

        ” how many of you are willing to work 12 hours a day 7 days a week in the most dangerous industry on this island?”

        No one in Bermuda does.

        “How many of you have seen a coworkers receive 3rd degree burns in the line of duty?”

        they’re obviously not capable of this type of work and should be fired.

        “How many of you will work on 33,000 volt equipment?”

        I do, what’s your point?

      • Daren says:

        Get real they don’t work no 12 hr days trust me

  4. Family Man says:

    I think the unions were right to step in. Bermuda unions have more than enough experience in running a business in Bermuda. They’ve run an insurance company, a credit union, a grocery store, a movie theatre and a gas station. Everybody’s always saying Belco should put their cables in the ground. Well who else has as much experience as the unions when it comes to putting companies into the ground?

  5. just wondering says:

    I think you need to ask the question why someone who has been working for BELCO for decades decides to resign – you think he jumped or was pushed???

  6. Y-Gurl says:

    The Cpuntry should not be held hostage by a single utility

    • Wahoo says:

      Right let’s shut it down.

      • Anonymous says:

        Lmao- ya go ahead and shut it down. Start your own utility it’s so easy.
        You wouldn’t last a week without power. You sure are humble when a hurricane comes.

        • wahoo says:

          SHUT IT DOWN! And boycott Kentucky Fried while you are at it…do remember how successful that was? LYAO I will laugh longer.

      • Kathy says:

        Better yet, force them to sell to a more progressive utility that has renewable energy and a more sustainable IRP as their focus. BELCO sucks!

  7. Roger says:

    As I am also an employee of 29 years, starting in 1989 I thank anonymous for highlighting only a few of a belco employees challenges & support of community. I have seen many 24 hour days in my 29 soon 30 years of service, watching the sun come up I have suffered 2nd & 3rd degree burns plus many broken bones including a fractured skull. @ questions & concerns of a Bermudian, so you say… yes you are idiots as you only queried the hours worked… much more you have no clue… @ ALL, sit down in the boat before you get wet..!

    • 24 hours says:

      Pretty sure having someone work 24 hours straight is against all health and safety regulations in any sector, let alone around extremely high voltage industrial equipment. Probably why you sufferred so many injuries (that seems like an exceptionally high number of industrial accidents to happen to one person in a 30 year career).

      When your union is finished with this matter you should probably have them look into those 24 hour shifts and the health and safety conditons generally.

    • Kathy says:

      Let’s face it. Most Bermudians are just so ungrateful for the sacrifices made by BELCO staff to keep the lights on. I just want to THANK YOU very much for your dedicated service that goes unnoticed.

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