BIU Goes To Court, Injunction Granted

June 7, 2012

[Updated with KFC's response] The Bermuda Industrial Union went to Court today [June 7] and were successful in obtaining an injunction prohibiting KFC Bermuda from making proposals to their employees that in order to be employed they must accept less favourable work conditions than offered under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The two sides have been embroiled in a dispute since last year, and last week multiple BIU Divisions including the Port, Construction, Postal, Corporation of Hamilton, TELCO, Public Transportation, Parks, and W&E marched through Hamilton in support of their fellow workers at KFC.

A statement issued this evening by the BIU said, “The Bermuda Industrial Union and its members who are employees at Kentucky Fried Chicken (Bermuda) Limited (KFCB) appeared in Court today before the Chief Justice on an application for a prohibitive injunction. Attorneys for KFCB and KFC Operations (KFCO) attended to oppose the application.

“After an argument which lasted the afternoon, the BIU and its members who are employees of KFCB were successful and were granted an injunction prohibiting KFCB and KFCO from making proposals to the KFCB employees that in order to be employed by KFCO those employees must accept terms and conditions of employment less favourable than the terms and conditions of employment they enjoyed when working with KFCB including the terms and conditions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement dated April 2008 and incorporated into their terms and conditions of employment until the trial of an action deciding the issues or further order of the Court.”

Update June 8, 9.55am: KFC have responded to the injunction, saying it “has little practical effect” as the Company had already undertaken to temporarily continue the employment of those employees who had chosen not to accept employment with KFCO.

They also said that the BIU application was presented to the court on an ex‐parte basis, so KFC did not have sufficient advance opportunity to review the BIU’s claims or to present evidence in its own defense. The Chief Justice has consented that KFC may apply to have the injunction removed or varied, and KFC will consult with its attorneys and take any further action which is deemed appropriate and practical.

The full statement from KFC follows below:

Kentucky Fried Chicken (Bermuda) Limited (“KFCB”) and KFC Operations Ltd. (“KFCO”), together (“KFC”), acknowledge that the Chief Justice yesterday granted a temporary injunction following an application on behalf of the BIU and certain of its members.

As KFCB had already undertaken, in both individual letters to the affected employees and in public statements, to temporarily continue the employment of those employees who had chosen not to accept employment with KFCO, the injunction has little practical effect.

It is important to note that the Chief Justice dismissed a similar application last week, based on a similar set of facts, brought on behalf of the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (the “Minister”).

It should also be noted that the BIU application was presented to the court on an ex‐parte basis, which means that KFC did not have sufficient advance opportunity to review the BIU’s and certain members claims or to present evidence in its own defense.

Notwithstanding the injunction issued yesterday, the Chief Justice has consented that KFC may apply with its own evidence to seek to have the injunction removed or varied.   KFC will consult with its attorneys and take any further action which is deemed appropriate and practical.

In the meantime, yesterday’s ruling has no impact on the continuation of KFCO’s operations in the same manner as they have been conducted since inception on 1st June 2012.

The BIU and other plaintiffs in yesterday’s action claim that they desire speedy resolution to KFCB’s action before the courts for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to appoint a Labour Disputes Tribunal.

KFC notes that at this stage of the legal process KFCB’s attorneys await response from the Minister’s and the BIU’s attorneys on when they will be in a position to respond to KFCB’s submissions in order that the judicial review may move forward.

KFC urges the BIU and the Minister to instruct their attorneys to provide their replies as quickly as possible if they are sincere in their desire to see the court process concluded sooner rather than later.

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Comments (38)

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  1. Old Furberts kettle says:

    Who granted the injunction….Paula Cox

    • allcloggedup says:

      Don’t be silly. This is what the Union should have done in the first place. Its about time they grew up and acted responsibly. Maybe they actually learned some tatics from the BPSU…..Marching in the streets just don’t cut it anymore…

  2. sharky says:

    Get your last bucket of Kentucky Duck…this store will be closed in the next 30 days leaving these poor misrepresented employees sitting on the wall.

    • Um Um Like says:

      Yup! Shut down operations and send a thank you card to the union for their great work at increasing unemployment in our “country”.

      …”we” can’t wait for independence! Hah!!

    • pepper says:

      And to think these employees will have to depend on the union to take care of them,because K.F,C. will be closing down.

  3. Floats says:

    Who cares, the country is in crisis and this gets the most comments? Madness, move on.

  4. united says:

    Yep, KFC getting ready to wave bye bye. BIU should be pleased. They showed KFC who’s the boss. NEXT!

  5. Carlton Smith says:

    Good,..let them get an attitude and close now. There’s a chicken shop next door (with better chicken too) No unemployment, the employees can work for the new business that takes their place,..or even open one of their own. KFC needs to just cool it. It’s us the public who pays the employees, not them. Disrupting our lives just because they stubbornly want to take more from employees to line their already fat pockets,.. and got the nerve to threaten to close! Well be gone.. nobody needs you anyways.

    • observer says:

      Mr. Smith, may I ask if you own or operate a business?

    • Come Correct says:

      That’s either sarcasme or you are the most backwards thinking person I’ve heard…or the biu is paying posters too…

      • Bermywan says:


      • LMAWTFO says:

        Lest everyone forget that its the employees that want this becasue they are fed up with how KFC treats them. BIU is simply following orders of its members.

        • Familiar says:

          The reality is that it’s only a small fraction of the employees at KFC that are causing this problem. The majority, as per usual, are going to suffer the consequences of the loud and unreasonable.

    • Bermywan says:

      I do hope you realize that “better chicken” next door is not unionized

    • I gotta be me says:

      Mr Smith, from what I have read, KFC seem to be offering the employees normal, legal working conditions and pay. ADDITIONALLY the Company is offering the employees a share of the profits! I’d take that deal over any union deal any day of the week! What these employees have to hand over to the union for this abysmal display of negotiating should scare the beejeezuz out of them. If I were an employee and run so far away from that union and right into the arms of a company that wanted to offer me profit sharing!

  6. Miss Tee says:

    Mid ocean, gone, bda cement, gone, kfc, gone, UBP gone, the writings on the wall.

  7. Crystal Cave says:

    I’ll be going to KFC for one final time this weekend. Feel so sorry for the employees who will soon be out of work. Carlton Smith’s comment is by far the most insensitive and ignorant in the blog. Shame on you – you might not need KFC – but those employees do and BIU will not be looking after them – we all know that. BIU in their misguided effort to do whats right will cause incredible hardship to 30 Bermudians. Well done Mr Furbert – may you go to hell and face eternal fire.

    • Don says:

      Sorry but I don’t think he is wanted in HELL, might start a strike there also!

  8. Rard says:

    BIU won’t be satisfied until their archaic 1960s thinking and tactics have shut down every private enterprise on the island.

  9. kevin says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how some posters always try to imply that because they feel a paticular way anyone who does not share their view is an idiot. The fact is that the court was always the appropriate place to resolve this dispute so don’t go assuming that you know more than the judge! Hopefully now this dispute will be resolved without any further industrial action or uninformed comments.

    • sandgrownan says:

      I’d be tempted to close the business. Going to be interesting to see the next move by KFC.

  10. navin johnson says:

    Carlton Smith when the business looses money it is not the public who is paying the staff……..

    • well well says:

      Navin Johnson Are they losing money?????have you seen their balance sheet…..or has a recession provided an opportune time to reverse prior financial and benefit earned by employee. IMO KFC was betting/hoping that desperate times would make workers accept anything thrown at them without a fight……

      • Cedar Beams (Original) says:

        It is a well known fact that KFC has been close to going out of business several times. I firmly believe they are in a desperate situation and this BIU situation will finish them off very soon. Get your chicken soon folks, the fat lady is clearing her throat.

        • Finally says:

          Your just wrong!,,
          Why not just look at their balance sheet.
          They make a profit!,
          They just want to make more money for their share holders.
          Most of you just don’t get it anyway, you are so blinded by your hatred of the BIU that you don’t see what’s really going on here. If KFC want to close so be it.
          Their are lots of other restaurants in Hamilton and outside, that can cater to the Bermudian public.
          Have a look at the one in collectors hill serving good food nothing deep fried, and with lots of choices on the menu.

          • media says:

            When I look at the balance sheet I see a business that over the last 10 years has not made big profits. For a business to survive it is not just about making enough money to break even, or just be in the black and giving more money to the shareholders. I have always looked at the balance sheet and thought for a business of that size it should be making more money than it does. My conclusion is that the model as it stands does not work. Something has to change. Long opening hours, high wages and benefits and a small population are not a winning formula for a fast food restaurant to be successful in Bermuda. In the US, as an example, they have the long hours but they have lower wages and millions of customers. Unless KFC can change their model then the business will fail.

            From what I understand it is just 4 of the employees at KFC that are in conflict with KFC management. They are digging the graves for themselves, aswell as the other 25 or more employees. In this economy it is about keeping your job, even if that means making slightly less. The alternative is having no job.

          • I gotta be me says:

            I’m sorry… just what is wrong with a company wanting to make MORE money? Who do you think pays the employees? Honestly, sometimes I think the BIU sprinkles its followers with crazy dust.

            • well well says:

              nothing is wrong with making MORE money……I see no reason why we can’t go back to having slaves working for nothing…..there should be no vacation and defiantly no pension or health care..what has this world come to….people wanting to be treated fair…..t
              he world is not fair so get over it…

              • street wise says:

                But the pendulum has swung too far other way now! I understand that staff at KFC get 6 weeks “sick” leave (accumulative), and 8 weeks “vacation” time!! Geeze! I wish I had those benefits, is KFC looking for workers?!

                How can a small fast food restaurant, in a tiny market, make a profit paying for those ridiculous benefits?!

                And all KFC wanted to do in the first place was transfer their staff pension fund to a more reputable & transparent company. As the Union Pension Fund is, how should I say, somewhat dicey.

                • navin johnson says:

                  transfer the pension funds and not have to offer “new employees” all of the vacation and sick leave that existing staff receive…..nothing taken away from present staff..that plus $18.75 an hour…..only in Bermuda

      • navin johnson says:

        2011 operating income down 44% with net income return of less than 6% of equity..cost of employee wages increased for the 5th year in a row…..sales decline year over year…..employees cost over 50% of revenue before they buy any chicken or pay rent… long before they say why bother? and if Mr. Chicken was so good why is the place always empty? although these days KFC is rarely crowded like the Good Old Days…..maybe a line on a friday night …you can stick a fork in them….maybe let the BIU run KFC as they have done a wonderful job with everything else they touch….

        • Finally says:

          Pay rent to who…..l
          They pay it to them selves duhhhh..
          I I’m not talking about mr chicken,
          And if your really serious who the hell wants greasy fried KFC anyway. Bermudians are getting fat from that greasy stuff anyway.

  11. 1minute says:

    Isn’t the plan to get KFC to shut down.. Doesn’t a Furbert own Mr Chicken…

    • concerned says:

      Yes they do and I am sure they are better Employers than the Union are representatives.

  12. Grouper says:

    As soon as KFC closes Burgess & Furbert will open a new one on Union Square & the Chief Justice will be 1st customer. But I could just be speculating…

  13. walls says:

    If KFC closes down, will that mean that particular franchise is no longer allowed, meaning noone else could reopen another KFC?

    • concerned says:

      Why not – if the PLP can accept resignations, talk people back into accepting positions of other resignees(?) and use people as they are – why not allow someone else to open KFC.

      Perhaps the BIU (Chris Furbert)isn’t interested in the KFC staff but the business. Chris has the BIU, PHC, and soon to come KFC. Keep your eyes open – WIDE OPEN! Any ideas as to who will be managing the place for him?