Electrical Trade Union Instituting Work-To-Rule

October 4, 2018

“The Electrical Supply Trade Union [ESTU] will be instituting a work-to-rule and demand the immediate reinstatement of the four qualified, displaced Bermudians,” the BTUC said today, adding that they hope the “Board of Directors meet with the ESTU to bring a speedy resolve to this current impasse.”

Background Summary

Yesterday 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.

This morning, BELCO workers gathered outside the building and also attended a meeting later in the afternoon.

BELCO Bermuda October 2018

BTUC Statement

The BTUC — which is compromised of the island’s various Unions — said, “At 11am today, the Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC] met with its affiliate the Electrical Supply Trade Union [ESTU] as a result of the current impasse between the workers and the Board of Directors and CEO Sean Durfy of the Ascendant Group.

“The BTUC is gravely concerned with the manner in which Bermudian workers are being treated within the Company.

“The dismissal of four senior Bermudian workers is extremely alarming,” the BTUC said, adding that the dismissals form what they alleged was “part of a ploy to systematically remove qualified Bermudians from the Ascendant Group’s workforce.”

The BTUC alleged that the “cuts come on the back of retaliatory redundancies that were made less than three weeks ago, as a result of the CEO not being able to obtain work permits for expatriate workers to displace qualified Bermudians.”

“In particular, the workers are angered that Michael Daniel and Denton Williams, who both have served the company for 29 years respectively and had worked there from apprentice positions to senior management, were forced to leave.

The BTUC said it is their understanding the Board and the CEO allegedly “targeted this particular group of senior Bermudians, which included Zehena Davis and Carol Ross-Desilva, because they did not agree with the manner in which the Board and the CEO were handling the affairs of the company and, in particular, the treatment of workers.”

“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,” the BTUC said.

“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.

“It is evident that the Board of Directors and the CEO do not value the contribution of long-serving Bermudian employees.

“The ESTU is extremely shocked at the departures of Zehena Davis and Denton Williams as they were primarily responsible for heading the current round of industrial bargaining negotiations. These departures come at a very peculiar time as their alleged resignations occurred in the midst of talks which were scheduled for this week.

“The ESTU will be instituting a work-to-rule and demand the immediate reinstatement of the four qualified, displaced Bermudians. ESTU further demands the removal of both the CEO and CFO Robert Schaefer and call for full transparency from the Board as it pertains to:

  • 1. Succession planning of Bermudians in the Ascendant Group;
  • 2. Regulatory Authority’s requirements of BELCO;
  • 3. The systematic outsourcing of jobs;
  • 4. Access to accredited training and re-training;
  • 5. Full transparency regarding the allocation of savings that resulted from cost-cutting of employee wages and benefits; and
  • 6. Clarity if the North Power station will be operated and maintained by the BELCO’s employees.

“It is the BTUC’s desire that the Board of Directors meet with the ESTU to bring a speedy resolve to this current impasse.”

You can view our ongoing updates on the matter here.

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Comments (22)

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  1. ConcernedBermudian says:

    Wow this is just dopey. First off the CEO is trying to cut costs, he has been trying for years. Laying off 4people cuts costs, but no no, you want to reinstate them meaning the costs now can’t go down. And also, they are executives so you are not allowed to strike as they are not union members. Get back to work.

  2. Jt says:

    Were the four executives members of the union? If not, is the work to rule allowed under their cba? Can’t imagine that it would be – not that it ever matters in Bermuda.

    • sandgrownan says:


      • Ringmaster says:

        When did Unions abide by any CBA? Only employers have to abide by a CBA, not the union members. Been proven time after time and no Government has the b***s to apply the law.
        Employers are likely to be paying attention to the Government’s response and interference in this instance, and it won’t be good for Bermudians.

  3. sandgrownan says:

    It’s interesting, the language suggests that this was constructive dismissal for the two that resigned. Presumably, not Union members, but even if not, there are other avenues to take in such a case.

    Secondly, sad as it is, we have a rapidly shrinking economy. We can argue long about the how and why, but that’s a fact. Redundancies are a fact of life.

  4. Jt says:

    And the Premier has just publicly supported it. Business confidence just dropped again. He’s so focused on the possibility of fintech he’s letting our established business slip away.

  5. Channa Trott says:

    Why dont you all wait until the facts are presented before you make senseless comments. People always want to jump to conclusions without full knowledge.

    • Heineken says:

      True. What are the facts, Channa?

    • Jt says:

      Let’s start with this – fact or not – are the 4 employees in question unionized?

  6. FTU says:

    so now my belco rates will go up if demands are met? perhaps a work to rule would be more effective if most of the unionized actually worked in the first place. That being said they can’t keep their own affairs in order (finance) but want to dictate to business.

  7. Wtf says:

    Here we go, the “entitled” ooooo look at me, I have a degree And am Bermudian, I am entitled to this job. Stfu, rediculous!

  8. Coffee says:

    Thank you Asendant Group for allowing Bermudians to have a glimpse into the shockingly dirty energy generated by the Board of Directors towards the upward mobility of honest and , loyal long time employees of your company.

    • Jt says:

      Redundancies and job losses have been happening in IB for a decade so why wouldn’t Bermudians be well aware?

      • sandgrownan says:

        yup, didn’t see the unions marching after recent redundancies at Merkel and BNTB…..

  9. 2 Bermudas says:

    Work to rule? Ha! Like these bies have ever done sumthin for free!!! Don’t worry, your Premier says de economy is booming so you’ll easily find other jobs!! Keep drinking de titty milk!! Ha ha ha!!

  10. Justasuggestion says:

    I think all will become public soon. In my opinion, Belco had alot of pressure to reduce costs and emmissions by BDA Gov. Perhaps not the current administration however… As Belco is a private entity and legally can be punished (usually financially) if they fail to comply this is how they find the money to make such changes. I loathe to see people put out of work, but it seems this is only way to free up cash to meet targets set. Trim off the fat as the saying goes. Or the BDA Gov can allow multiple energy providers to set up and supply. But look at the Digicel saga. End result is, someone won’t like it and a strike will prevail. Classic rattle out the pram. Or cake amd eat it.

    • FTU says:

      agree with TRIM the FAT just think how much more this govt could spend if they trimmed the massive fat stock they have, hell might be able to pay off some bills

  11. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The Electrical Supply Trade Union [ESTU] will be instituting a work-to-rule and demand the immediate reinstatement of the four qualified, displaced Bermudians,” the BTUC said today, adding that they hope the “Board of Directors meet with the ESTU to bring a speedy resolve to this current impasse.”

    Umm, sorry, you are going to work to rule until 2 people who quit are reinstated? How does that work? What if they don’t want to return?

  12. Rocky5 says:

    Suggest anyone who has any form of generator, test it and fuel it up this weekend. This might go on for a while and it may not end well for BELCO’s customers – Including INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS!!