BIU Port Workers: Hamilton Dock Overtime Ban

August 11, 2011

[Updated] Retailers may soon face delays in getting goods on the shelves, as the BIU Port Workers Division has instituted an overtime ban on the Hamilton docks.

Last night [Aug.10] Bermuda Container Line said, “Stevedoring Services has informed us that overtime has been withdrawn by their workforce as of today. This is in response to the collapse of the current contact negotiations. The length of this ban is undetermined at this time.”

Stevedoring Services CEO Peter L. Aldrich confirmed the Port Workers Division of the BIU instituted an overtime ban on the Hamilton docks after talks deadlocked.

The first impact of the overtime ban will be felt this weekend as the Oleander arrives this Sunday [Aug.14], however with the ban in place the containers will not start being unloaded until 8am on Monday morning.

The full statement from BCL is below:

Stevedoring Services has informed us that Overtime has been withdrawn by their workforce as of today. This is in response to the collapse of the current contract negotiations. The length of this ban is undetermined at this time.

BCL is truly disappointed that this situation has degraded to this point especially at a time when the economy can least afford it. Without overtime our operation, along with the other lines, will be greatly affected.

This will have a knock on effect to our customers who are already reeling from the effects of this economic down turn. As Bermudians we have great concerns as to the effect this will have on our nation’s supply chain.

We will do everything we can to minimize the impact on our customers, but please understand that this situation is completely out of our hands.

Oleander voyage 1615 will arrive on Sunday August 14th. Unfortunately, with the ban in place they will not commence discharge until Monday morning 0800.

We will keep you posted as to any future schedule changes that may be required. Please with your questions and concerns.

The full statement from Stevedoring Services CEO Peter L. Aldrich follows below:

Stevedoring Services Ltd can confirm reports that the Port Workers Division of the Bermuda Industrial Union has instituted an overtime ban on the Hamilton Cargo Docks.

We have been in discussions for some time with regards to the renewal of our Collective Agreement but talks are deadlocked over our desire to alter hours of work due to the significant reduction in cargo volume.

It is an unfortunate reality that our economy continues to contract and any reluctance to accept the consequences of these changes only makes matters worse.

We remain committed to our staff and the importing public as we all try to walk an economic tight rope of providing stable employment and the financial stability that provides that employment.

We do support the negotiation process and are still hopeful that we can resolve these differences without any protracted inconvenience to the importing community.

Update 11:45am: This morning BIU President Chris Furbert held a press conference to address this situation as well as one with DPT. He acknowledged the suspension of overtime, and said the Union gave the five day required notice.

Mr Furbert said the workers were asked to go on a “four-day work week when its a three-boat week, and a three-day work week when its a two-boat week. The men have respectfully declined that, and the employer said if you can’t accept that we will have to put the workers on layoffs.”

The company cited the economic conditions as the reason for wishing to reduce the work week Mr Furbert said. A few weeks ago we ran a story about reduced freight at the docks. At the time Peter Aldrich said “Import container volumes have declined 10% per year for the past two years and don’t look to improve anytime soon. Based on import trends and cargo bookings, we forecast a further 10% decline this current year.”

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Comments (54)

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  1. Liars says:

    great, whens the strike.

    • 80s Sonesta Kid says:

      Strike? LOL go ahead and strike …… intsead to caving in to the BIU like the government, why don’t those Stevendoring Bosses get off their azzes and do the work, and there is no law against hiring part time workers is there? Hire me, I need a weekend job for straight pay…..who needs overtime pay when str8 pay is $40/hr

    • Cleancut says:

      PLP + UNION = VOTES.

  2. B, a Lady says:

    Brother Furbert has a Stevedoring past so he know only too well how to wind up management at the Docks. However, workers in industries in which he has no exposure/experience continue to get exploited. Ask the workers at Renaissance Aviation. I am told that in comparison to their counterparts at aviation, they make low salaries for back-breaking work. The Union is slow to help them. Ask the workers at Butterfield Bank. They suffer the indignity of no dividends on their investment through share purchase plans, meager salary increases and negative changes to their health insurance. The threat of lay- offs looms there every day. The Union will not approach Management there. Where is Brother Furbert as workers continue to suffer? On the street harassing one man with a valid complaint, or fighting to have a bus driver re-hired when he was obviously in the wrong. To borrow an acronym from our young people today – SMH!

    • Think about it says:

      Very well said, I agree

      • Think about it says:

        fyi I agree with the part about Chris Furbert being quick to get the bus drivers to strike and not doing anything for the dock workers. The banks workers are out of luck. That’s why I’m glad I don’t work in the private sector

    • Maddog says:

      B,a Lady says: The bank of butterfield workers are not unionize and they better not join the BIU because management would fire ever one them I don’t think you know what going on in this country,the Aviation workers need to walk off the job and strike and what would you say then these are hard times and nobody wants to take the risk these days and management is threatening people jobs so what do you want Chris Furbert to do he can’t make management pay nobody but the works could take some action but they won’t be cause they are afraid they might lose there jobs lets be for real.

      B,a Lady says, Let something happen to someone on your job I want to see you be the first one to
      to tell your boss that you are going on strike.Because if you are not in a union you will be fired on
      the spot you know that because on private jobs like the bank you mention the workers can’t
      do nothing and let them try they would be all fired let see what the Bank of Butterfield workers do
      on the new they got from there insurance company yesterday I bet they won’t have a picket sign
      outside of BF&M let see.

    • Truth (Original) says:

      Your opinion is that workers at the Butterfield Bank are being exploited? Exploited is a strong word given the circumstances. Butterfield Bank was technically bankrupt and investors stepped in and purchased it by replenishing it’s balance sheet. When the company you work for is bankrupt, there is little room to negotiate for a salary increase, share dividends and the like. The same is true for the dock workers. The reality of operating a business is often times lost in the noise. If the company is taking in less money and operating expenses have increased where is the extra money going to come from to pay workers extra money? The reality is that when companies lose money they have to cut costs and workers salaries are usually the biggest expense and hence the obvious target. Is it fair? Maybe, maybe not but it is the reality. Asking Mr. Furbert to “step in” would be disastrous. What does he know about Banking Operaions? What makes you think that he would be a competent negotiator? Is it his track record? I think he has done more harm than good in these times and his paradigm is out of step with our current reality.

      • B, a Lady says:

        You know nothing. Have the Board or Executive at Butterfield taken cuts to Board fees and salaries? Come back to me when you have an answer. In times of higher operating expenses, companies start jettisoning the “little” man. Instead, they should start at the top. Have you seen the list of Executive at Butterfield? It is dizzying and LONG. Lots of people running around, obviously not doing too much effectively, as they are still in dire straits. Pare down at the top first, and you will save. 1 executive annual salary is, on average, 4 times higher than an average annual salary of 50k. So, if you got fired one Executive, you could save 4 workers, on average. Stop penalizing the little man. He did not cause the issues. The people at the top did. Also, you do not need to know about Banking Operations in order to negotiate a salary. Even if he is not a good negotiator, there are other unions on the island that could negotiate for these workers. But right now, they are being exploited. I’ll stick with this position.
        Maybe one of them should call in to a talk show and describe the exploitation.

        • Scott says:

          the first half of your rant could easily be applied to our current govt!!

          aside from that, you dont just fire an executive… execs are not as disposable to a company as the “little man” is. They have experience, insight, etc… they are not people that hvae just gotten into the industry a few years ago… if you just fire an exec, that places a huge hole in the structure of the company.

          your quote “you know nothing” should really be directed at yourself. You cannot just roll around willy nilly firing, salary cutting, price controlling, etc etc etc because we think it will fix things. Economies and businesses do NOT run like that successfully.

          … to negotiate a salary for bank work, you definitely need experience in banking operations… how can you even say not. i have not a single clue what levels of experience and what job tasks deserve what salary. i would be useless at negotiating salaries for that.

          Perhaps they are being exploited. I cant deny that but i can guarantee that there are hundreds out there tha twill suck it up for the temporary time just to have a job. What do you think furbert and his union do whenever they go on strike for people that drink at work and lie and all that? they are exploiting the fact that they have numbers. exploiting their employers inability to simply fire and rehire instantly.

          This is dire economic times at the moment. Everyone has to deal with crappy lives then before the recession. thats life.

          • B, a Lady says:

            Now I can say, with authority, you know nothing!
            First, not all executive are insightful, experienced or competent. Again, just look at the mess Butterfield is in. So much for their insight, experience and competence.
            Second, do you think Chris Furbert has done every job for which he negotiates? Of course not. He sits at the table WITH workers from that company next to him. They negotiate together.
            Third, why would you even propose that people just accept a crappy job? I thought we were well past that. Hard economic times do not mean you exploit workers. You can try, but you will build such resentment and anger that your company will never thrive. Workers get it. They will work with you if you treat them with respect and fairness.

            • Onion says:

              @ Lady, There are over 1,000 people without work out there who would probably take a crappy job right now just to pay the bills and keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. If the dock workers don’t want their crappy job because they can’t get what they want then someone else will surely take it.

        • Young Observer says:

          why would a union negotiate for non-members? people that arent paying fees? people it doesnt represent?

        • Truth (Original) says:

          @B a lady. If the board have not taken a cut in salary then the responsibility falls to the shareholders to exercise their right to vote board members on and off the board. That is their right. Not only that but nothing is stopping the staff of Butterfield Bank to buy into the company (the share price is dirt cheap at the moment) and earning themselves a vote as to who is on the board. It works remarkable similar to the BIU. For example, if the BIU have not produced up to date financials for the last several years and the leadership, who are getting paid to see to that business, has not taken a pay cut because they are delinquent in their duties then the membership of the BIU can exercise their right to vote as interested parties. As a side point, you do need to know about Banking operation to negotiate a banking salary. How else would you know what your position is worth? How can you negotiate from a position of strength if you know nothing of the operations? Oh right. You can just state that you are being exploited and bring in Chris Furbert (who is currently grossly negligent in his duties) to negotiate on your behalf. That is the strength of your argument? Perhaps it is you who knows nothing.

      • Maddog says:

        Custom officers want to join the BIU.
        CHRIS FUBERT must be doing something right. Haaaaaaaaa

        Laverne Furbert were are you write in quick before the heathens start to write.

        BY THE WAY 50 OF THEM…………..

        • Young Observer says:

          something sounds fishy to me aboutt hat situation – 101 of them originally signed the document and in less than a week 51 of them “changed” their minds and decided to stick with the BPSU. I can tell the BIU will not be representing any customs officers, the law is against the move and the majority of the workers are against it/

          • 80s Sonesta Kid says:

            oh c’mon Dog you can’t be serious. HMS Customs want parity for WHAT, harrassing everyday people at the airport? When we see you guys doing real work, getting results, seizing massive loads of drugs, etc etc then you can talk parity! You guys want more money and you ain’t done shyte except harrass me everytime I step off the plane…..asking stupid questions like how long was I away? Did I buy a pair of socks that look unworn, what about the toothbrush….nah Dog, you gotta live up to your name and do some real Dog da Bounty Hunter work man

            • amen says:

              @80s lmao You are DUMB and are clueless as to what customs officers do and why they do it. That’s not all that customs officers do and they don’t just work at the airport ya dummy! Based on your lack of intelligence and constant references of “dog” they clearly harass you for good reason.

              • 80s Sonesta Kid says:

                I may be dumb, but u are DUMBER…..If US Customs are overt with their pursuit of gun runners, drug dealers (not the little guy), what makes your ‘undercover’ duties such a heavily guarded secret? Bottom line is HMS Customs are nothing but paper pushing scaredy cats that know its a whole lot easier/safer to calculate import duties and tarriffs than to take on the real thugs behind drug & gun smugglers. How much effort does it take to identify some stupid little gurl as she nervously walk through the arrivals hall with 1/2 kilo of smack strpped to her mid-section? You call that pro-active? LOL SMH and I now look forward to being searched, I get out of the arrivals hall faster!

                • amen says:

                  Again you are DUMB and CLUELESS as to what customs officers do and again they don’t just work at the airport you ignorant fool! I can’t help but laugh at idiots like you who think you know it all. LOL that’s the hilarity of your two dumb posts! So much talk but saying a whole bunch of nothing! Please tell me in detail what customs officers do everyday Mr. Know It All. Since it’s takes little effort….I’ll wait.

                • amen says:

                  Again you are DUMB and CLUELESS as to what customs officers do and again they don’t just work at the airport you ignorant fool! I can’t help but laugh at idiots like you who think you know it all. LOL that’s the hilarity of your two dumb posts! So much talk but saying a whole bunch of nothing! Please tell me in detail what customs officers do everyday Mr. Know It All. Since it’s takes little effort….I’ll wait. The fact that you think all that they do is collect/calculate duty/tariffs and harass people at the airport lets me know that you are an idiot of epic proportions. Just a jobless dumbass who complains and runs his mouth.

                • desmodus rotundus says:

                  I want to make a general statement about this whole issue. Yes we all know the world is in a difficult economic period. However this does by no means give any employer the right to make or break as to their liking. The rules an regulation compiled within the collective agreement between a company or istitution and its workers must be adhered to even under these circumstances. Alot of the statements made here are ill informed and heresay. How are poeple suppose to live on a reduced income while prices of just about everything outhere are on the increase daily? If employees are scared to stand up for themselves i am sorry to say but no union in the world can do anything for you. Also you people obviously have no clue as to what people like customs or the docks for that matter does for this country so refrain from making uneducated and stupid comments.We are not helping Bermuda and its people in any way by doing that. In conclusion, a union does not decide for the members, they are merely the voice of the members.

  3. Pick Me says:

    I’ll work Sunday – straight time, and I’ll work as long as you need me.

    • Itcouldhappen says:

      Pick Me, I know a few men who would do the same… SMH

      • 80s Sonesta Kid says:

        Ya u bies can fall in line behind me….Pete gimme a call man!

    • dock nigga says:

      And why would you work straight time for cause you dnt have a job now .

  4. Stop Pointing ya Fingers says:

    This is proof that things need to change on this little island. We all know when the ships arrive so why not change the workers hours?? This has happened across the globe when concerning things like this. Bermuda needs to get up to the times. These guys should not have the OT, but rather they all should be on shifts in order to adjust for the different arrival times of the ships. We need to stop living in the past adn atart living for today and tomorrow. The same should be applied to the Ferry and Bus services, shift work is the answer for now, not overtime. I work to and there is no OT. If my work is not finished, I have to stay until it is complete or I will lose my job and someone else will step in and take over. Maybe Government and BIU should also think like the rest of the world……………………comments anyone???????????

    • 80s Sonesta Kid says:

      right….there are ways to beat the recession but as long as Geronomo and Custer are measuring and comparing the length of their respective rifle barrels to see which one is longer than the other…….SMH

  5. Shorta ranks says:

    Dumb. The cost are passed on to the whole country. Dumb. The BIU has lost it. Don’t they realize what is at stake. And when there are layoffs let’s see how much they can give to their workers. A pittance. Absolutely disgusting. Next will be the buses. This is shaping up to being our summer and winter of content because of the lack of vision from the BIU.Get ready for lawlessness and anarchy. It starts small and then destroys everything in its wake. The President should take his 5 year elementary education and resign.He just talks tough and is the most unapproachable person in Bermuda and he is voted in by sane Bermudians?

  6. Jim Bean says:

    I can only shake my head. I agree – we know when ships come in so wth are workers paid overtime? This leads to increased costs to consumers – oh so lets introduce price controls – oh lets blmae everyone but the union and the way they hold the country to ransom. oh where are the accounts for the last 12 years. coincides with election of plp? wake the “f” up. i say fire them all and then train new people. be like ronald reagan and the air traffic controllers.

  7. Stop the runaway horse if you can says:

    Wow are we as Bermudians or even wise people finallay seeing this so called Bro President for what he is?? Im so happy to see so much focus being put on Bro Chris Furbert here lately. The guy is a genuine joke and how he ever got into that office form the beginning truely amazes me.The last reuely respected and effective leader we had at the BIU was Bro. Ottie Simmons. I also read today that 50 or so customs officers were tryiny to become affiliated with the Biu, I caution you and recommend that you really look before you leap. This guy will sell you out in the blink of an eye. His political ambitions are far greater then the wll being of the so called members he represents, Look at the guys over at Public Transport they used to be probably the strongest devision in the union , now the poor guys dont even have the right to attend any of their general meetings, why????? Because Bro president and his dealings with govt, Look no further then PHC club in warwick under his leadership. Finally have a traier up there as a club house and changing room, prior to that it was two old public pink and blue buses given to him by Ewart brown that is.What happened to all the money Esso gave them so they could have a gas station where the club house used to sit??? why are the deeds to PHC club locked away at the Credit union??? How did PHc get to barrow Millions from the credit union???? Come on BIU members wake up and take ownership of what truely belongs to you. Members of the BIU probably dont realise they are part owners of an organization worth about THIRTY MILLION DOLLARS IN CASh and assests. But you better go there and involve yourselves before there is nothing left. I imagine the guys who fought so hard to build the BIU up to what it is today are not resting but rolling in thier graves seeing how the BIU is falling apart at the seems. I Guess Laverne is there having a tizzy fit seeing all the negativity being thrown out there lately.Thats another question what the hell are the members paying her for???? Going on talk shows daily and or using the workers voice paper as a tool to promote all plp propagenda and less and less articles on the workers themselves. Lets go George Scott it time for you to stand up and challenge this guy as president and not be fearful of his aggressive behavior. We all know how he gets when questioned or challenged. think I,ve said enough.

  8. Takbir Sharrieff says:

    The smart thing to do is to allow overtime to continue for the workers…..but pay them straight time during this downturn in the economy but put the overtime on the books recorded on the worker’s time owed to them agreed to by the Union and the men and the employer enforceable by law to be accumulated and paid out in their pension on retirement or termination.!I would work my butt off for that arrangement knowing that my money is accumulating that way like a savings for whenever I leave or am terminated.It would be like extra money in the bank to me and the work would not be disrupted and my money would be growing for a future payout even if I got laid off.!When the downturn lifts or annually There can be a payout or as agreed upon by the Union and all parties…….at least the men will not lose money and look forward to a nice package upon leaving or being terminated or retiring …whatever the case may be.Since all the workers will not leave en-bloc …The employers will not be put under duress…even if a worker applied for his money in case of emergency..distress..or sickness.Tust saying…..I am sure all parties working together can put their heads together to form such a savings plan…rather than playing hard -ball and being so rigid and confrontational to prove whose king of the Rock……Bermuda need’s more co-operation between management and employer in their negotiations to save the community such grief that I have observed in their non- co-operation that I have seen over the years…… is like one leader said vividly as I recall in the sixties during those tough times of obvious power struggling……It’s All About Power…….

  9. No Respect says:

    Some very good statements. Lets hope some more follow!!!!!

  10. Terry says:

    High Oh Silver…..away!!!!!!! I get your point there ‘Runaway…….”

    I agree.

  11. little says:

    I guess this Island has littleman syndrome

  12. stop the runaway horse if you can says:

    Well as a member I have been saying for sometime now that the days of being radical are over. Years ago during the booming economy and money seemed to be dropping out of the sky was the time that the employer appeared to meet pretty much all the demands of the union. But as we see today the very same employers are facing the very same problems as we are during these very trying times. YET Brother president knows one way and one way only HIS WAY not realising that most employers are at the point of shutting up shop opposed to having to be dictated to by some wanna be who truely has no true Idea. I rcall soon after he was voted in he said he was going to hold a general meeting to see what direction the membership wanted its union to go and here we are how many years later and still no meeting???????? In todays climate as leaders we better be very well versed and have the ability to sit and represent people in a proper fashion. Maybe tonite we,ll see another press conference and if it happens watch the body language of brother president, looking somewhat like the old Mike Tyson anxious to get out of his corner.But as I already said IM really glad to see so many expressing thier displeasure with the poor leadership of our union.

    • James says:

      Very well said. As a previous union member (years ago) I urge you current members to CHANGE your current “non leadership”. You are being led down a street to no where.

      So funny that you said to watch his body language, I’ve been doing so for a long time and what is seen is NOT good.

      I wish you luck in this regard. Brother Simmons must be crying out loud at the state of his union and its membership these days. Now THERE was a leader!

  13. Chronic Backpain (Original) says:

    What the F does Chris Furbert not understand here??? 20% reduction in freight – 20%reduction in hours worked. This guy is f insane. We are also insane if we allow d*ckheads like this to affect our country so negatively.

    If they go on strike Steve Services should offer employment to many of the 1000s are have no job now. The strikers can stuff it up their collective behinds.

    Chris F is a joke.

  14. 1minute says:

    They unload on Sunday in Overtime… WTF
    Why don’t they work shifts like other ports. Most ports Sunday is like any other day. When will Bermuda catch up with the rest of the world. No wonder things cost so much on this little island.

  15. Chronic Backpain (Original) says:

    Breaking news. There’s a bigger issue now about the Buses. Gov has 24 hours to reinstate a driver who refused a drug test following an accident. I guess we’ll be hearing from Terry Listless.

    • Rockfish#2 says:

      @ Cronic Backpain (Original)
      Lister is going to say as much as he did during/after the Santucci debacle. Nothing!! This from a Minister who never met a microphone/ camera he didn’t love.
      Hopefully he will review the tapes of his town hall meetings made when challenging Cox for the Premiership! He might gain the “testicular fortitude” he lacks.

  16. Bwermp Bermp says:

    Someday we’ll b together

  17. Smh says:

    That one-man Union protest really needs to multiply right about now!

  18. Who feels it Knows it says:

    One thing I see wrong with this Island of Bermuda today is this. The Big shots are willing to cut the poor mans wallet while they are still sitting in a position where they are still getting theres. So what the workers are doing, why cut my pay work week down to 3-4 days a week when if you don’t have the finances will just stop the overtime and give you a full weeks work. Even though the people who get containers from the ports are being affected look at the whole picture and put yourself in their shoes. Exactly in these economic times who can afford to work for less hours have any of youy stop to think that maybe some of there wives, kids maybe out of jobs during these economic times.

    As long as everything sits well with the wealthy they never seem to understand that ppl do have a opinion, and that opinion does not consist of the big shots constantly dictating what they want while they are still gaining there same rate.

  19. Who feels it Knows it says:

    People need to understand Slavery days are over. An if us Bermudians continue to be dictated to lord knows where this country will be. So before down pressing the Uninon etc….

    Start taking a look at he big picture and understand that these wrokers do a very serious job which is also dangerous, an on that note if the management wants the work to resume instead of sitting in Air Condition all day while there fellow collegaues are roasting in the heat let them offload the containers if they really care about the customers. Lets see if they will do the job, but know because they are to good for that.

    Bermudians start fighting for your rights and stop letting these people Dictate your future.

    On another note they start working 3-4 days they may have to do the for the rest of there time employed there. Work Overtime so they can give them 3 days off.

    Stand Firm People

    • Terry says:

      And what the hell has “Slavery” got to do with it. Just because a majority of these guys are black.

      What you gonna do when the ship comes in with ten containers……..

    • Truth (Original) says:

      The guys that are “sitting in Airconditioning” are providing jobs for the guys “working in the sun”. If they are unhappy with that arrangement, they are free to seek employment elsewhere. In what universe does th e employee earn like the employer? The lions share of the risk goes to the employer and therefore the lions share of the reward goes to the employer. If you don’t like it, start your own business and compete. Stop looking for a handout.

  20. Terry says:

    And yah gonna feel a lot more Mr. Feel it………

    Always blaming dee boss…..

    I give up….

  21. Who feels it Knows it says:

    @ Terry that is not what I am saying I am just someone looking in from the outside.

    An I am not blaming the boss I am just commenting on what I read Sir no it all. You are always got something to say because I guess you are retired and living wealthy but like I said who feels it knows it and I am intitled to my opinion.

    • Terry says:

      Yah damn rite I always got something to say when it matters. Your words speak volumes and can be interpretated by many in various ways.

      As for retired, whats that have to do with anything.

      Just for your info, I have been employed for 46 years but have not worked for ten…go figure. And yes I am very wealthy and eat ramon noodles………

  22. So What says:

    One thing if the shoe fits then wear it cause one thing I notice It is always a racial issue on Bernews….. read between the lines. Because i definetly don’t feel arguing about this situation is going to help. But Terry ppl are intitled to there opinion.

    @ Who feels it knows some parts you are speaking are true but mangement will never agree so that is your opinion.

    • Terry says:

      So What. Never said people weren’t entitled to their opinion. Don’t put words in my mouth you ass.

  23. dock nigga says:

    WOW give me three days work and bread is still going up. And everything else is also on the rise but i can survive thanks .