Staff Protest Over Hand Scanning Time-Keeping

January 29, 2013

Several dozen Bermuda Gas and BELCO employee gathered outside BELCO this morning [Jan 29], expressing displeasure over Bermuda Gas’ implementation of a biometrics hand scanning time-keeping system.

A BELCO spokesperson said: “The Electricity Supply Trade Union [ESTU] held a meeting beginning at 8 a.m. this morning in the Company headquarters car park involving both Bermuda Gas and BELCO employees.

“At issue is the ESTU’s objection to Bermuda Gas’ implementation of a biometrics hand scanning time-keeping system. The system was implemented at the end of December for all employees, union and management. The benefit of this new system is that it integrates with the payroll system, thereby providing greater efficiency.

“The ESTU opposes the use of biometrics. Following a meeting between the ESTU executive and management this morning, the two sides agreed to suspend the biometrics system and discuss a new method moving forward. All employees returned to work at 10 a.m.”

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  1. jt says:

    what’s the problem ?

  2. ..... says:

    Sooooo…. You don’t like this because ya bredren can’t punch you in? Stop being lazy and get back to work!

  3. Time Passages says:

    Can’t wait to see what ignorance CF has to say about this.

    “…..Employees being held accountable, that is umum completely unnaccc……unaccep…..umum WRONG!…..”

    • Joonya says:


    • COB says:

      @Time Passages




  4. Justine says:

    So you don’t like the fact you will only get paid when and if you turn up???? If I was management I’d have just sacked those who protested as they obviously have something to hide! Nothing to hide?? Then turn up and use whatever system the Management wants to make sure that staff are being paid for the hours they work!

    • frank says:

      listen fool these are human people now has the right to inject some object into your body this is not star wars next they will scan you in and out when you take a whizzz stop it now just use a swip card like every one else thanks workers for stopping it now power to the people

      • Fed up says:

        A hand scanner will cause no harm. You must steal time at your job!

      • Jeff says:

        Well it is used at Tuckers Point and The Reefs. Whats the problem? Something seems very fishy. Get with the program it is 2013 not 1970.

  5. Sandgrownan says:

    Q. What’s green, 14 feet long and sleeps 4?

    A. A BELCO truck

    I’ll be here all week, don’t forget to tip your waitresses….

    • here's a thought says:

      that is hilarious….. another another…..

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      At 4:30 everyday they can be seen racing yellow trucks towards Pembroke.

    • frank says:

      you are just a stupid fool stop talking trash belco crew do a dam goog job keeping are lights on rain blow shine

  6. Verbal Kint says:

    Biometrics is an ethical minefield and is considered by many to be a threat to privacy and individuals ability to maintain the security of their identities. I have been there and it is a HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE security practice. An opponent once told me, “A driver’s license or password is evidence of your identity. A fingerprint or hand print IS your identity.”

    • InquiringMindsWannaKnow says:

      Agreed! There has got to be an effective alternative for simple time-keeping than a private company databasing the hand/fingerprints of all of it’s employees… Sounds like a can of worms to me!

      • cant fool me says:


        • WhistleBlower says:

          If half the people who come on here to ‘crack jokes picked up articles and READ them they would KNOW this MACHINE is a THREAT to SOCIETY!! Further more HOW much did this damn MACHINE cost?? This is part of the REASONS are bills are INCREASING – to PAY for BS such as this!!

          BERMUDIANS can WE STOP being so IGNORANT, READ and EDUCATE yourselves on what is REALLY taking place on this ISLAND??? BIOMETRICS?? RESEARCH IT funny QUOTERS!!

          I’d like to see your FACES once you do – BERMUDA is CHANGING at a RAPID pace and many of the ill-informed ones will be left SCRATCHING their heads WONDERING WTFH when you no longer have the FREEDOMS you ONCE took for GRANTED! For GODS SAKE WAKE the hell up!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • R@s cl@d says:

            As a foreign worker who wants a job , you keep thinking the world is against you . I will scan my hand and laugh at you on my way to work.

    • 1minute says:

      You can fake a driver’s license of give someone your password. You can’t do either to your fingerprint.
      Before you say it, most biometrics systems check for a pulse, so cutting off the finger won’t work…

    • Raised Eyes says:

      I’m not that confident that hackers wouldn’t be able to get into that system. Biometrics is scary business.

  7. BermudaGem says:

    It took them nearly a month to protest? -sigh- I guess that means they were happy with it until someone was unable to get the pay for when they said they showed up for work but the biometrics determined they really hadn’t.

  8. trfm says:

    So – you are having a little melt down because you don’t want this scanner because YOU DON”T DO NOTHING. The only way you would have a problem with it is if you are note doing what your supposed to be doing – Typical Bermudian work ethic – Late to work – early to leave – long lunch breaks – sit off and charge it to the customer.

  9. Dockyard Lackey says:

    In the ideal world we could introduce this to ALL GOVERNMENT Departments. That might be a cost saving measure and ensure more work for the taxpayer’s buck. No, wait. That would require some form of supervision. Not happening!

  10. Why? says:

    Why should a new method be discussed??? if they don’t like this new system, then these workers(?) should be prepared to give up their cell phones and rely on land lines; give up their Ipads and every other technological advance…oh no.

  11. Joonya says:

    We have turned into a nation of complainers..

  12. Serious though says:

    If you get paid 8.30 -5, Belco want to trust you, but verify..

    What’s the problem. You send kids to school, if you get a school report, lateness, absent ..grades..

    GROW UP!

  13. It is so amazing how stupid some people think,because here it is people want to critize B.E.L.C.O but as soon as your lights go out you want them,or if there is a major hurricane and it looks like you are going to be out for weeks without power,B.E.L.C.O becomes your saviour.

    B.E.L.C.O employees have every right to be up in arms about this new system and I say this not based on all the comments above.this is a move that is no different from the mark of the beast and falling into a system that is bigger then the picture being painted here.

    There has to be another way to be held accountable then to be using these new methods of scanning body parts,the mark of the beast is real and we dont need to be a part of it for as long as we can stay away from it.

    • DarkSideofTheMoon says:

      The mark of the beast??????? STFU & KYS!

    • cant fool me says:



      • trfm says:

        What in the world are you talking about – you are fooled clearly.

    • WOW says:

      “The mark of the beast is real…” – This is actually quite scary. Scary in that we have people deemed ‘sane’ (i.e. who live and work amongst us) that think such completely and utterly ridiculous things are real. The mark of the beast? STFU! You need to be sent to MAWI because you really have a screw loose. Religion is a farce people…deal with it!

  14. Free Thinker says:

    What possible grounds for objection could the union have. These poor excuse for union leadership, that we have these days, does more to harm the economy than aid in workers rights. They just prove my point, more and more, that they are obsolete and serve no useful purpose. This is beyond the bizarre.

  15. Serious though says:


    ABC Pty Ltd has 200 employees.

    10% of their workforce (20 employees) is persistently late for work by 10 minutes. Their average hourly pay is $25.00 p/h (10 minutes late represents $4.16)

    Assuming there are 232 working days per year: 232 days x 20 employees x $4.16 ($ lost due to lateness) = $19,302.40 lost per year

    Combine that with the lost productivity, extra overtime costs occurred when covering workload, and the order value of the contracts lost due to delays in delivery, and you can clearly see how just a few minutes lateness can really affect your bottom line.

    • Ann says:

      Got a point there -@ Serious though

      Dockyard Lackey -glad you mentioned it first , because my mind had gone there too…

    • windwater says:

      I think you have to look at it a bit deeper. If they come in to work 10mins late but they stay work for an extra 30mins are they still deducted the 10mins worth of pay that they came late.

  16. Yng Black Mind says:


    The root problem here is not about workers not being accountable, or trying to “clock in” their friends at work.

    The problem has two simple points:

    1. Management implemented the system without consultation, and
    2. Biometrics is a feared system, as it involves a perceived threat to privacy and identity.

    So beating up on BELCO workers, calling them “lazy”, “selfish” and the like is unwarranted and disrespectful.

    In certain Government departments, they have a card key system which can verify your entrance into the building, thus tracking your timekeeping – perhaps this may be a viable solution.

    It’s time to get off the crazy train, Bermuda. . . and realize that we need each other (every time you blast someone or some company, you are blasting yourself).

    Yng Black Mind

    • Bermuda Cat says:

      @ Yng Black Mind,

      I agree with you. It seem’s that many are brainwashed to the fact that anytime an issue comes up, automatically it’s the workers fault.I see this every time I come on Bernews when there is a dispute. Everybody slams the worker before knowing the facts. People act like business owners somehow live to a high standard than others. The funny thing about this, is that if people do the research, you would see business owners are just as shistey as anyone else.

      • Verbal Kint says:

        I agree with you both. When the people who are all for this have to give a fingerprint to go to work, they will feel differently. Before someone says, “You have to give a fingerprint for some jobs.” the answer to that argument is you have the option to give your fingerprint to get employment. This was done retroactively without consultation. It’s bad business and there are other means to identify people. Despite the common argument, this is usually done to cut employer costs.

        • Seriously? says:

          you can bet if my company chose to use bio-metrics I would ARRIVE on time everyday and you can bet I would LEAVE on time everyday too. Currently I work approximately 2 to 3 hours overtime nightly without compensation.

    • DreamCatcher says:

      I agree whole heartedly with you. Ascendant just approved to follow the template of the Banks and Telecoms to benefit from 60/40 ownership exemption and this ignorance starts. I hope this isn’t to cut jobs which has happened in prior cases. Next thing emails will be monitored for “abuse”.

      A key card should be sufficient or GPS on vehicles. Or randomly call employees. Have them log in somewhere instead. Should not a manager held responsible for managing their team members inclusive of time keeping?

      I don’t like how Bermudian’s knock each other down often. These people work in a place that has a drug free policy and keep the island powered very well and a union is necessary to protect exactly this kind of behavior.

      • cant fool me says:


  17. Truth is killin' me... says:

    Smitty…you can no longer punch Jerome’s punch clock. GOT IT!

  18. Kiell by any other name is still Kiell says:

    can we get this for W&E???? but than again they show up for work they just spend the remainder of the day doing absolutely NOTHING.

  19. Jus' Askin' says:

    Why not just inject microchips into your employees, to monitor their movements throughout the day? ;-)

  20. Family Man says:

    None of these guys seems to complain when they take their semi-annual shopping trips to NJ or their gambling trips to Las Vegas and they have to pass through US immigration where they give their fingerprints and picture, but take a hand scan to prove they actually show up to work when they say they did? Unacceptable. How dare my boss ask me to work for the full time that I’m actually getting paid.

    • please wake me says:

      good point!

      • cant fool me says:


    • Bermuda Cat says:

      @ Family Man,

      What he does in he personal life is his business, and has nothing to do with his job.

      In many people’s opinion, you should do whatever your boss tells you to do. But we live in the real world, and the days of carrot and stick method are slowly dying.

      If you don’t work for BELCO, or know all the facts, stop passing judgement. Nobody is right 100% of the time!

      • Family Man says:

        Pee into a bottle lately? Try to tell your soon to be ex-employer that you were only doing those drugs on your own time and it wont affect your work. But you’re going to be a bit late on Monday. Hard night you know.

    • SJ Taylor says:

      Finger prints??

  21. In Mark's Opinion says:

    New World Order is Coming to a country near you.

  22. DreamCatcher says:

    I for one don’t want my fingerprints the property of an employer or otherwise. Is this data destroyed upon termination? I agree if you have nothing to hide…..but this is personal property. What next a retina scan because someone found a way to override the biometrics?

    I would like to know what this system cost for what is the perceived benefit. I would have expected the union to be apprised as well before purchase and implementation. Its very well to say management will have to do it too but what should be of concern is what is accomplished in those hours vs proof of in and out timestamp.

    If there is cause to fingerprint for criminal reasons – of course. So that my employer can say I was in and out is ridiculous. Isn’t the workload proof of performance? And how does that work for a truck driver? Punch in at 7 AM and sleep in my truck until 4 and punch out. Proves what? Oh – that I followed the new directive. GTFOOH

  23. truthseeker(the original) says:

    Actually. I think this is a rather good recommendation in these times we are living in.
    In other countries, an Electrical or gas plant would be restricted to the highest of security levels due to the fact that any malicious(Terrorist) frations can infiltrate such factories and cripple the country by sabotage or even worse planting an explosive device in such places.
    I understand full about the invasion of privacy, but as Bermuda is slowly turning in to such a dredded place, how soon before we succomb to such acts?
    Just a few years ago we would never have thought that gunplay would occur, and now……..

  24. Nuffin but de Truth! says:

    BELCO staff can no longer clock they friends in thats what they frightened of.

  25. Bazinga! says:

    Isn’t this a fairly costly device to purchase and implement into a company yet they just decided to suspend it? If it matters what employees think about this why didn’t they bring it up before they spent the money on it?

    I’m not a huge fan of ‘the man’ but this seems a bit like the tail wagging the dog.

    At the same time, it also seems like management and/or human resources really needs to get some additionally training on how to best run a company. If Belco employees are necessary and having a few dozen employees getting upset over it is enough to make you question this new way of timekeeping…yeah what the heck were they thinking charging ahead without any prior employee input?

    Definitely a better way to do things – it appears from the outside looking in anyway.

  26. Lets Hope says:

    They are talking about installing this system in airports. Are these same people who are opposed to this not going to travel anymore? I think not.

    Further more if you don’t like what your employer has implemented get another job!

  27. really... says:

    I really don’t see the problem. There is no harm to the employee and the only reason to oppose it would be in order to cheat the system. It’s you identity; they are not stealing your identity. Thats like fearing photos because they steal your soul!
    Another option would be facial recognition software; look at the camera and it clocks you in and you don’t have to touch a thing.
    Lets step into the present without fear. These modern technologies are simply to keep the straight and narrow. You want to get paid; be there. Want to prove to your boss you were on time, look at the files. It works for both parties.

  28. Accuracy? says:

    None of the biometrics used in these time keeping systems stores a fingerprint image. The likely one used at belco is a hand geometry scanner that uses an infrared camera to measure the geometry of several points on the users hand and stores a numerical file representing such. It would not be possible to reverse engineer a picture of the users hand from this data.
    It would be more invasive to have a picture of your face taken and stored in a database – of course this is commonplace and readily accepted by all the idiot complainers above who drive.
    Mark of the beast Duanne? What no credit card – bank account- passport – birth certificate – voter registration? Right I thought so. The only beast all humans should fear is the one that lives under the thin cloak of civility we all wear.

  29. Verbal Kint says:

    Google “biometrics and ethics” and you can read up and make an informed decision. A lot of U.S. companies went this route and have since done away with these systems for any number of reasons, ethical questions, efficiency, etc. The systems tend to promise a lot and prove to be ineffective and inefficient.

    • Read a bit says:

      lots of these ppl you see here dont want facts, they want to put down the average man as much as they can.

      just read their comments accross bernews and see for yourself.

      The internet has allowed the haters to say what they want with no penalties.

      • butch says:

        What penalties do you want the ‘haters’ who express their right of free speech to face? Ironic you are posting under anything but your own name. Hater hater?

    • WOW says:

      Bermuda: ethical when it comes to workers rights re: biometrics but unethical when it comes to basic human rights (two word, one comma). You people are a joke.

      • Verbal Kint says:

        I don’t know if that comment was aimed at me, but for the record, I am in favor of “two words and a comma”. Ethics everywhere. End of story.

  30. Shag says:

    Been using the system for several years. I have no problem with it. Get to work on time. Book out for lunch. Book back in on time and leave on time. Who has a problem with this.

  31. Real Talk (original) says:

    My initial response was that these guys are just looking to slack off and avoid accountability… With more details it makes sense.

    I would certainly protest if my employer was to implement one of these systems as well. And no, I’m not a fan of having to press my finger prints into the thingie down at the airport either.

  32. scan it already! says:

    Clearly the people with the problem are the ones who want to be paid for hours they don’t work!

  33. Not Surprised says:

    I can understand the point of view of this leading to the possibility of ID theft. Fingers prints and the employees info would have to be stored in a database held within the company’s computer systems. With hackers out there looking for this type of info, I don’t want my info and finger prints stored anywhere. It’s bad enough they do this at the airport, which totally freaks me out. If they can hack bank systems and credit card systems a little local company would be a walk in the park. Had my Credit card info Stolen once, and that was enough to open my eyes and want to protect myself at all times.

  34. powerkeeper says:

    In reading the above story it was stated that the system was implemented at BDA Gas NOT BELCO. Why are the BELCO workers being blasted for supporting there fellow workers. I guarantee NOT all supported the dispute and stayed on there post. I’m glad to see these workers can stick together and trust their ESTU committee to work with the employer to resolve there issues. Glad BELCO has it’s own union.
    Many grumble and complain of the work/rates that BELCO/BDA GAS pass onto the general public BUT should go and spend 1 day in the facility. In my opinion, these guys don’t get paid/rewarded enough for the work they do. Many face dangerous situations daily but they still give 100%. Many have been injured on the job but still work.
    To my BELCO and BDA GAS folks thank you for all your hard work.

  35. Malachi says:

    I’m convinced that some people protest for the sake of protest. Do something new and you’re bound to get a few who have a problem with it. If you’re complaining about this methodology, it means you have a job, and that means you’re doing better then a lot of us!

    • really... says:

      I’ve never met a bigger bunch of whiners than the blue collar unionized Bermudian. “But this is how we’ve always dun it!” Don’t try to change a thing; it’ll throw them in a tizzy.
      ANYTHING that improves productivity will be looked at with contempt at best. For the most part the local worker feels that company owes them a living; any work received by the employer is purely out of grace from the worker. Over-time hours are a right and thus why rush during the week when I can get paid again on the weekends.
      Biometrics make complete sense and the only ones complaining are those who haven’t figured out a way around it.

  36. Enforcer says:

    These devices have been used throughout the world. They do not take fingerprints or scan palms. It is harmless. The individual has to enroll with a number and punch it in when they come or leave from work. That sign in/out is what is used to calculate pay. The biometric part is the uniquiness of the top of the hand utilising light. No harm No foul. This is just a clear attempt to thwart companies from managing better. These unions fail to get it, the current state of our economy is revealing so many cracks and now that private companies are tightening the reins its a problem. Its just stupidity.

  37. Common Sense says:

    I have just two questions regarding the use of biometric hand scanners. (1) Do they pose any kind of health hazard? and (2) If they do NOT take a fingerprint (Enforcer says they merely show the uniqueness of the top of your hand using light) would the image they produce be useful for other purposes such as being passed on to to the Police to search for criminal activity etc. I’ve never heard of the Police using this technology to identify suspects.

    If the answer to these two questions is no, then I see no problem with this system. We are seeing new technology in use in our everyday lives; we are photographed and have our fingerrpints routinely taken whenever we go through U.S. Customs; we are filmed every time we visit an ATM machine to take out cash, and likewise whenever we walk down Reid Street or Court Street. Credit card companies are constantly seeking new ways to deter criminal fraud (eye scanners are coming soon), GPS is used to track vans and trucks while they are being driven on our road, and so it will continue.

    Most of the other devices suggested in these blogs such as card key systems are not foolproof because one employee can give another employee his card etc.

    I guarantee that those arguing most vociferously against the so-called “mark of the beast” just line up meekly at the airport and have their photos and fingerprints taken every time they want to travel to the U.S. Of course if you do object to U.S. Customs you can always turn round and return home. Perhaps if you’re not prepared to cooperate with a system that is designed specifically to protect both the individual worker (by providing clear proof that he or she was at work) and his or her employer, then you should change jobs and look elsewhere.

    Tosuggest using a

  38. Y-Gurl says:

    Bunch of clowns, what are they complaining about, they have a job, in an overpriced monopoly which we are constantly being asked to fund, tell you what lets do a poll and see how many good Bermudians would gladly use a biometric scanner to “clock in” in return for a secure, we’ll paid job.

  39. steve says:

    Awwwwwwww, typical bermudian workers. Boohooo, lazy bunch of useless people.