Column: Govt & Union Collaboration Is Critical

April 27, 2020 | 18 Comments

Jason Hayward Bermuda April 24 2018[Opinion column written by MP Jason Hayward]

The effect of Covid-19 on economies around the world will present Governments with new fiscal challenges that will require Government officials and Union leaders to work in collaboration and cooperation. The old behaviours of maintaining entrenched positions at the expenses of increased efficiency, productivity and service delivery must change. A collaborative relationship will require both parties to trust and take risks.

As the health crisis presses on, the economic crisis will continue to expand with no sign of abatement. The full impact that the health crisis will have on our economy is not known, however, we should all be clear that the Country will have fiscal challenges as a result of an inevitable recession. Our tourism industry has been decimated. Tourism-related revenues and thousands of direct and indirect tourism-related jobs have disappeared. Our entire economy is in a tailspin.

Many will be added to the thousands who are already struggling with long-term unemployment. With payroll tax being the largest source of Government revenue, it is expected that the Government’s revenue will be severely impacted. In the midst of declining revenues, the Government must now borrow to ensure that it stimulates the economy and provides adequate social protections. The economic effects of Covid-19 will have a graver impact on our economy than the Global Financial Crisis.

We are all in unchartered territory, with a tough road ahead. These are the times for bold leadership that recognizes that working together is less about one’s own interest and more about a sincere conviction that doing so serves the best interest of the country as a whole.

The collaboration will require both parties to operate with a clear mandate based upon a vision from leaders that can be translated into specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely objectives. Both parties need to understand that collaboration can be advantageous when the aims of cooperation exceed the areas of disagreement. The last thing that the Country needs is large scale industrial unrest as a result of misguided expectations in the midst of Bermuda attempting to recover.

The Unions are best positioned to assist. Union collaboration is nothing new, however, more is at risk if we get it wrong this time around. Unions will have to dig deeper than they have ever before. What will be required will have to transcend agreements of the past such as multi-year pay freezes and furlough days.

The familiar calls from the private sector for a smaller Government, better service delivery, the increased use of IT systems and privatization of services will only become amplified. Unions must become transformational partners, as new efficiencies will have to be created in order for the Governments to provide cost-effective services and programmes. Unions must assist in the designing and implementation of new cost-effective ways of delivering services which are suited to the needs of customers.

A concerted effort is required to change the current culture of operating. It will not be easy, however, a shift in paradigm is critical for us to get the Country back on a sustainable recovery path.

- Jason Hayward

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Comments (18)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    “Our entire economy is in a tailspin.”

    Finally he gets it. It was in a tailspin before COVID-19.

    Interesting language though, he’s setting out his stall. He’s basically saying that governments and employers need to play ball or else.

  2. MB says:

    This should have happened a long time ago, and we would be better placed as a country to weather the covid-19 disaster!
    Why now and not last year or after the countless work stoppages and unreasonable demands (in the era of disruption) that have choked out government?

    ‘A concerted effort is required to change the current culture of operating. It will not be easy, however, a shift in paradigm is critical for us to get the Country back on a sustainable recovery path.’

  3. Let’s be real says:

    I am all for playing my part in the economic recovery but let’s be real. The last time they instituted a furlough we saw absolutely no improvement in the economy. People being able to work is what we are faced with so bottom line for some of us the work was backed up before the lockdown and we will have to work even more to get back on track. So a pay freeze can help, perhaps a reduction in overtime (embodiment included) pay could help but reducing the hours of work will only have a negative impact on getting things that are backed up back up to speed. Even more so perhaps some of the people that are unemployed be given temporary employment to assist in those areas that could use the extra manpower. Because 12 weeks of unemployment pay is less productive than 12 months temporary work. Have a blessed day.

  4. F Morgan says:

    Bravo! This is a brand-new paradigm. The old playbook won’t work. Government can’t continue to pay public employees to stay home while the private sector watch their livelihood disappear.

  5. Daimen says:

    Ha yeah right

  6. wahoo says:

    Oh I feel sooooo much better after reading this.

  7. Lets Keep It Real says:

    What about the People’s Campaign!!! It was so vocal when the OBA was Government.And I must as a PLP supporter congratulate the OBA for the way they are conducting themselves and being supportive during this time. If it was the PLP/BIU/People’s Campaign I’m quite sure they would be finding something to complain about if it was a OBA Government making these decisions.

    On another note it would be nice to hear them during these Press Conference not being referred to as the Opposition but rather the elected members of the OBA. Tone and body language speaks a lot. One thing about the USA Press Conferences they refer to one another as Democrats or Republicans.

  8. Jack Archer says:

    another article from Hayward that says nothing – no solutions.

  9. Joe Bloggs says:

    “As the health crisis presses on, the economic crisis will continue to expand with no sign of abatement. The full impact that the health crisis will have on our economy is not known, however, we should all be clear that the Country will have fiscal challenges as a result of an inevitable recession. Our tourism industry has been decimated. Tourism-related revenues and thousands of direct and indirect tourism-related jobs have disappeared. Our entire economy is in a tailspin.”

    That much is true

  10. Me says:

    This is just as worthless as hearing how many folks got stopped at check points by regiment/police useless information and empty stats

    • sage says:

      Someone is paid to be at every roadblock counting vehicles? Just so Cap’n Crunch can reel off large numbers to the media, maybe they can apply these tactics to roadside sobriety checkpoints.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        “.. maybe they can apply these tactics to roadside sobriety checkpoints.”

        I hope you mean sobriety as in ANYTHING DUI ? Oh no , not with your one biased track mind , eh ?
        Actually I’d like to see these road check points cross utilised for other things , like warning all these people who have them that their license plates are illegal and getting them to rectify that in quick order.

  11. Vortex says:

    Yes agreed, a vacuous piece of nothing journalism.

    As he is a union man, I would like to hear his views on civil service pay cuts.

  12. sandgrownan says:

    “Our entire economy is in a tailspin.”

    Well he got that right, I wonder if he has it in him to ask why? I really object to being lectured about collaboration and cooperation by Hayward. The veiled threat isn’t welcome.

    • Famous Hayward says:

      Famous does this too. I do not appreciate being called out for not doing their jobs.

  13. Ernest Decouto says:

    we need to work together as one nation not divided.

  14. No More says:

    Unions got to go! Not part of anyones “New Normal”. Anything that is an overhead must be dropped to safe those actually doing the work! This includes all upper level Civil Service and Permanent Secretaries – nothing with the word “Permanent” should survive! Wake up Bermuda! Can’t get money from those who don’t have it!

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