Minister Addresses Proposed Labour Legislation

March 4, 2014

Government is not trying to remove workers ability to strike, but is looking to add public transport as an essential service which requires a 21-day notice period prior to the withdrawal of labour, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy said this evening [Mar 4].

The amendment [PDF] to the Labour Relations Act 1975 was tabled in the House of Assembly on February 28, and will be debated this week. The proposed aim of the Bill is to include public transportation, and tug and line boat operation connected with cruise ships, as an essential service.

Earlier today, BIU President Chris Furbert said the proposal is “very concerning to the BIU” and they see this as “another impediment to worker’s rights, taking away the right to strike.”

Mr. Furbert said that Department of Public Transportation and Marine & Ports staff will be having a meeting at 11am tomorrow to discuss this proposal, and also added that their relationship with the OBA Government is “broken.”

Currently essential services are:

  • 1. Electricity
  • 2. The extraction, distillation or purification, pumping, storage and distribution of water and the prevention of its waste, misuse or contamination.
  • 3. Services provided for the protection of the public health and the prevention of disease including the collection, transportation, processing and disposal of trade and domestic refuse and sewage.
  • 4. Hospital and nursing.
  • 5. Domestic and industrial gas.
  • 6. Port and dock services including pilotage, tug and line boat operation (not connected with cruise ships).
  • 7. Fire.
  • 8. Lighthouses.
  • 9. Air and Marine Traffic Control.
  • 10. The refuelling and maintenance of aircraft to the extent that this is necessary to maintain the essential services.
  • 11. The loading and unloading of mail, medical supplies, foodstuffs, cattle and chicken feed and all supplies needed to maintain any essential service specified herein and the transport of such goods to their proper destination.
  • 12. Transport necessary for the maintenance of any essential service specified herein and the maintenance of such transport.
  • 13. Telephone, telegraph and overseas telecommunication.
  • 14. Meteorological services.
  • 15. Airport security services (other than Police service).
  • 16. Ground electronic maintenance services connected with the safety of the Bermuda Airport and aircraft.

Minister of Home Affairs Michael Fahy said today, “I have raised this matter on behalf of the Government with the BIU numerous times in the last year as part of our regular discussions.

“Two weeks ago I raised the issue again at the Labour Advisory Council. At that meeting a fruitful discussion was held, with the BIU confirming its view that public transport could be added to the Act as an essential industry. There is currently only one essential industry in the Act – and that is hotels.

“It is the Government’s view that public transport is not an essential industry – it is a service and should be treated as such. I advised the BIU of the Government’s view. We also advised the BIU of the tabling of the Bill in advance.”

The Minister continued, “Over the course of last year and this year, we have seen far too many instances where members of the public and our visitors have been majorly inconvenienced due to transportation services being pulled because of irregular industrial action. In each case, these irregular industrial actions occurred with little or no notice to the public.

“Quite simply, the disruption of public transportation services has a detrimental impact on the Island. Not only does it cause great inconvenience, but it negatively affects the Island’s economic health with the significant loss of government revenue each time services are withdrawn, not to mention the effect on private businesses when their employees are unable to get to and from work.

“Such irregular industrial actions also have a seriously negative effect on our reputation as a premier tourist destination. Hoteliers and cruise lines have raised such matters with this Government. Irregular industrial action in this area has knock on effects that cause irreparable harm to Bermuda’s economy.”

The Minister concluded, “It is important to note that Government is not trying to remove the workers’ ability to withdraw services should they not be satisfied with any progress related to a dispute. Government is simply looking to add public transport as an essential service which requires a 21-day Notice period prior to the withdrawal of labour.

“This 21-day notice period represents a ‘cooling off’ period which provides management and the Union an opportunity to resolve their grievances prior to escalating the matter. This is a sensible and modern practice. Adding public transport as an essential industry does not require give a 21 day strike notice.

“At the end of the day, our primary focus is on ensuring that the people who use these services – the public and our visitors – are not left stranded each time the buses and ferries have a work stoppage.

“The public pays for these services and it’s grossly unfair to them when they have no means of getting to work, or to school or home when our public transportation services are inoperable due to industrial action without proper notice.

“It is also incredibly important to give businesses certainty that their employees will be able to get to work and to ensure that our visitors, who spend money in our Island and create economic opportunity for Bermudians, have the best experience in Bermuda.

“This is all the more important when Bermuda is in a delicate stage of recovery,” added Minister Fahy.

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  1. Updating: BIU Members March On Parliament | | March 5, 2014
  1. HAHAHA says:

    It sounds like the only essential service is the BIU’s pay check…

    • nuffin but the truth says:

      he has to buy the suits somehow!

    • true clours says:

      Amazing that this Minister with his Putin style politics walk all over democracy,

      I listened, thanks Bernews to Minister Pettingil and why is he so hell bent on not having jetgate discussed in HOA even though the law suit is not about jetgage?

      Pat Gordon, we have a lot of respect for you, but when we hear you raise from your seat to support wrong, you are wrong as well.

      • Mike Hind says:

        “Putin style politics”?

        Are you serious? Come on. An OUNCE of honesty and integrity.
        You’re just throwing out words now!

    • Triangle Drifter says:

      Chris Furbert & Lavern Ferbert’s paychecks. They must be kept in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.

  2. Kangoocar says:

    Well wel well well!!! Thank you Min Fahy for giving us the facts!! Let’s see, the biu were informed of the act 2 weeks ago and they agreed that they public transport could be added as an essential industry!!! So here we have it, the biu are lying once again to hide behind their agenda of helping the plp Reagan power at all costs, which includes bringing more hardships to the already hard done by!!! This is just getting more sick by the day and those that still support this nonsense deserve everything they have coming!!!

    • Impressive says:

      If this is 100% and Chris Furbert is indeed lying that I for one don’t condone that one bit.. not impressed, regardless of how much I support the rights of workers and the concept of unions in general..

    • Maven says:

      I bet Kango is a spoil. Wouldn’t surprise me if IT is even in the white sheet type of person. The hatred is so sad

      • Dragging A Lure says:

        Don’t meet up and touch the coward by mistake in Florida. Stand Your Ground will kick in. He is one hateful person.

    • Infidelguy says:

      Stop! You are either confused or deliberately being misleading.

      I’m not sure how the legislation defines an essential service as opposed to an essential industry but there is obviously a material difference between the two; and which is why Micheal Fahy is against adding transportation to the list of essential industries which currently only includes hotels.

      The BIU did not agree to include transportation to the list essential services but was fine with including it as an essential industry. Michael Fahy has tabled legislation to add transportation to the list of essential services which the BIU is against.

      Get your facts straight before you go off on a tangent accusing some of lying and conspiracy; and for goodness sakes take a good look in the mirror. The only thing that is getting “more sick by the day” are people like yourself who distort the facts.

      • Hmmm says:

        Transport is essential … Bermudians need it to get to work, for kids to get to school and the tourism industry needs it to be able to function .

    • cmon now says:

      How do you know that?

  3. Bull in a hurry says:

    OBA it is time to grow some nuts! Stick to your guns Minister. Brother Chris speaks as if he is representing all labour in this country. I work in this country and am one of the approximate seventy- five percent of non unionized labourers and support you on this one. Please don’t back down to the BIU this or every time the BIU hold our country to ransom. Enough is enough! Last election the population elected the OBA, not the BIU !

    • Redo says:

      Thank you for speaking out. The way Furbrain speaks, you’d think all laborers were union members and backing his every hissy fit. A genuine thank you.

      • Impressive says:

        Its not a hissy fit,, he represents the general body of members of which he is President.. He doesnt make these decisions on his own mate.

        • street wise says:

          “He doesn’t make these decisions on his own …” Really?! To pass a Union resolution at a meeting (wildcat strike) it’s a show of hands, not a secret ballot! So, to go against Ludicris’s decisions is to invite ridicule from the hard core (who seem determined to bring Bermuda to its knees). Hard working folks don’t need union representation.

          In the real world Shop Stewards attend meetings, not union members, and it’s the Shop Stewards who pass the info onto the workers. If Union leaders abroad carried on like Ludicris does they would be arrested!

  4. Mazumbo says:

    Poster Child for Union Busting.

    • nuffin but the truth says:

      Mazumbo,internet troll known for racist comments and outright lies.
      you’ll never be a poster child

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Nope, just a minister who is finally interested in the rights of all other workers of this country who want to ensure they can get to work and their kids can get to school. Those who require public transport to get to medical care. CF has brought this upon the BIU with the constant disregard of CBA’s and strong arm tactics. It is reassuring to see that this government has listened to those voices of the workers, who are constantly muted by CF’s loud rankings that he speaks for labor, and is willing to protect us from a rash, impulsive, self-interested organization.

    • jt says:

      Ezplain how this is busting the union.

  5. jusdiy says:

    Make rules and stick to the rules

  6. Unbelievable says:

    Suck it up, Chris Furbert. This is clearly not about taking anyone’s ability to strike at all. It’s about reason and pragmatism which the BIU as of late has none.

    Thanks Minister Fahy for the head’s up.

  7. nuffin but the truth says:

    Goodbye biu,you had many chances and blew them all.

  8. Coffee says:

    This is the same minister who tried to give children of expatriate workers the right to obtain scarce summer jobs in direct competition with our children . This guy is anti Bermudian and it shows .

    • Sandy Bottom says:

      No he didn’t. Complete lie.

      • Coffee says:

        I’ll stop telling the truth about him only if you stop telling lies about the union !

        • Mike Hind says:

          When are you going to START telling the truth?

      • Impressive says:


    • nuffin but the truth says:

      ya drinking too much kool aid,if you drank coffee you’d know you just typed a lot of bollocks!

  9. Take it Easy! says:

    Mr. fahy is anti bermudian bet yet he is making sure Bermudians have there essentials service running, but yet the BIU strikes illegally! So doesn’t that make the BIU anti Bermudian?

    • Maven says:

      Yea Fahy is sure saving Bermuda, he is selling our houses and opens us up to anyone despite how much the upcoming generations lose out on the big picture.. But don’t u worry he gonna save our transport system..

      • Doesn't add up says:

        The BIU and their wildcat strike action are posing one of the biggest threats to the future generation.
        They are giving the Govt. the excuse for privatization and, therefore, streamlining of services.

        Quite selfish and shortsighted.

  10. shutthemdown says:

    straight to hell for the ubp/oba.

    Shut them down as they try to take us back to slavery.

    • Mike Hind says:

      This is just gibberish!

      Come on.

      • Awardee says:

        14 months of slavery goes to……drum roll…….award goes to…….

    • It's about time! says:


    • Trumps says:

      Let me get this right. You are okay with how Chris Furbert has called half a dozen last second strikes and meeting that have left Children, Seniors and Tourists stranded?

      All that is being asked is that he give notice of a strike ..thats it. How is that taking someone back to slavery? The race card was played so many times in recent years that it has become ineffective as a weapon when used without merit. You know, like when you cry wolf!

      You need to free yourself from mental slavery. You are stuck on stupid it seems.

      • Maven says:

        CF doesn’t call the strikes people, he only notifies the public.. He REPRESENTS his people not makes their decisions.

        • It's about time! says:

          Say it enough times and you might believe it….I don’t buy though….neither does 75% of the work force on this rock!

          • Hmmm says:

            Furburt it the leader, manager, director of the BIU. About time he stopped passing the buck and blaming the members of the BIU for the strikes. Managers shouldn’t blame the workers for the managers decisions.

    • Watching says:

      Well you can’t catch a bus or ferry to get there!

    • jt says:

      How does this legislation represent a step back to slavery? Your comment shows ignorance of the plights of those who came before you.

    • frank says:

      workers united will never be defeated

  11. Lick My Chicken says:

    What does Betty have to say about this? HMMMM

    I bet she uses public transport and is delighted to hear this. But than again, everything the BIU/PLP does is right (according to her). I even bet if she had to loose her OWN job cause Furball pulled a last min strike she’ll say, o that’s fine.

    There’s only one betty, that’s for sure.

    • nuffin but the truth says:

      Lick My Chicken
      is it Fried,Crispy or Roasted?

  12. Plantation says:

    We are going back to slavery – who doe these creeps think they are? I’ll strike if I want to strike, why done you rich white politicians try working a 10 hour shift. Protests are coming.

    • jt says:

      Not sure what you don’t get. You can still strike.
      As for the rest….you’re only showing your ignorance.

    • shaka zulu says:

      Back to slavery!!you cannot imagine what that is like, and you say you work a 10 hour shift??how much of that 10 hours are you working, be lucky you have the choice to work if you choose, unlike slavery ,it was from sun up to sun down 7 days a week/ 365.As for the union, yes it was a good thing at one time when many had to struggle, but the struggle of years gone by is nothing like today.Be happy at least you have a job, food and a roof over your head..

    • Hmmm says:

      10 hours really…that is nothing, go take a walk in other peoples shoes before you condemn them.

    • tfm says:

      Makes me laugh, you think you are the only person workinga 10 hour shift! Thats life boo – that’s work – that’s sacrifice. Put ya big boy panties on for goodness sake. Get over this sense of entitlement that has been instilled in yout it’s crippling you – not the rich white man – always blaming the white man – look at your own mentality and work ethic. Bermudians have no idea how mucheasy they have it!!

  13. swing voter says:

    Butch Furbert thank god PHC dumped you….hope the BIU do the same…you cud never be Ottie!

    • Chaos Theory says:

      How about we get Ottie back as President of the BIU. Sounds crazy, but it has got to be better that Chris Furbert.

  14. Maven says:

    Yes citizens, stand by for 21 days while the injustice has been done. I thought the bad guy strikes first, not the one who reacts to the injustice.

    • Benny Trump says:

      Since when do two wrongs make a right? Or are you happy being no better than the ‘bad guy’?

    • PBanks says:

      That’s not how strike notices work. It’s not about “standing by”. The notice alerts all parties to the issue in the strongest way, and pressures (encourages, hopefully) all sides to try to come to an arrangement before the services gets completely disrupted.

  15. Smh says:

    Good thing the OBA will only be the Govt. for 1 term

    • It's about time! says:

      Wanna bet?

    • street wise says:

      Such a silly daydream… the plp/biu will NEVER regain the Government! They blew it big time, and still don’t have a clue, IMHO

      • Hmmm says:

        They have said nothing in support of the people, the PLP have simply tuned their backs on us. They stay silent in FEAR of offending voters. To them it is ALL about VOTES, not the people.

      • frank says:

        that’s what people like you said in 1998
        don’t be fooled by this government they don’t give a dam about the ordinary man in the street.
        check it out as much as the leader looks stupid on tv
        they have to keep him there because to fool you all they have tokeep a black premier in hope of getting your votes
        if you were street wise you would know

  16. Lone Wolf says:

    Wow @ some of these comments. It is very scary that people actually think this way in this day and age. It seems that to certain people, ANYTHING that any white person does means they are trying to bring back slavery?

    HUH? What?

    That doesn’t even make a lick of sense in reference to this article! And most of the people making those comments have never even come close to experiencing slavery. Just blind followers carrying the hate baton forward in their never ending relay race.

    Just pathetic ….

    • tfm says:

      Exactly – truste me – no one is trying to bring back slavery. Peoplke are trying to move forward in life, esecially those of us who had nothing to do with any of that, we don’t share those sick views of the past. But tahnks to the wonderful past PLP leaders – racism is well and alive…..just the other way around.

  17. Rhonda Neil says:

    The OBA’s definition of consult, is we happened to mention it….not in any or great details…but we did mention it…

  18. Starting Point says:

    It surprises me how ofter then BIU puts the transport workers off the job to be honest, and at the end of the day the world still turned, kids still got to school etc….taxis even prob saw it as a stimulus package. This seems to prove that the public transport industry could easily be reduced and privatized…the BIU is making the case for the government on this……If I were the union I would still file my grievances, but I would rarely pull the workers off the busses or ferries as I would want to project that these are needed services….

  19. Rhonda Neil says:

    since 1955 we are not taking you right to strike away, we are just using laws to make it meaningless….or more painful for workers…

    written Dec 5 1955 how far have we come…

    But we are here in a specific sense because of the bus situation in Montgomery. (Yes) We are here because we are determined to get the situation corrected. This situation is not at all new. The problem has existed over endless years.

    Rhonda Neil this is how oppressors use the Law. … when Oppressors don’t like the tactics that the people use to gets HUMAN RIGHTS>>>.
    At first, most African-Americans rode to work in cabs owned by Negro taxi companies. These cabs charged them only 10 cents a ride — the same as the buses. But the police told the taxi companies they had to charge at least 45 cents a ride. That was the law.

    • Hmmm says:

      The people of Bermuda are being oppressed by the BIU. They have made the many suffer for the few. Nothing really changes, they still have the right to strike, but not Wildcat strike.

  20. Bermuda Boy says:

    OBA will be Govt. for one term, then two, then three ……….

    If a showdown in necessary, do it now while there are no tourist here. Do it once and for all.

  21. Sooooo says:

    This was talked about when the majority of cruise ships started berthing in dockyard. Why, because tourists will NOT visit if there is no transportation at their disposal. It went no further at that time because it was not supported by the BIU.

    It’s about time someone took the bull by the horns and stopped Chris from holding the island ransom every time something doesn’t go his way.

  22. Ruthless says:

    I was gonna support the last strike and march but couldn’t get a bus or ferry to get there on time!

  23. Dinosaurmedia says:

    Was Fahy even elected? Was Furbert? Someone fill me in to how all this works?

  24. yello says:

    Some of you people do not read I swear. He just wants a notice before striking. Plus, how are we suppose to turn the island around and attract visitors when our public means of transportation are always striking?! That just looks so aggrivating for visitors.

  25. bluebird says:

    Just to mention a few…….
    MALTA They are broke and the EU and the IMP have told them PRIVITIZE then we can help you.
    GRENADA The IMF has stated GRENADA is broke and they have stopped lending them money.
    PUERTO RICO is broke and to borrow more money the lenders want to collect there “TAXES” otherwise they get no money.
    FYI….no taxes end with no pensions.
    And we in BERMUDA are still borrowing $267Million to live on to pay the UNION that wants to go on “STRIKE”

  26. TW says:

    Why is Bermuda’s transportation system so special to be excluded??? Most other coutries transportation system is deemed an essential sevice! Move up with the times Bermuda. “Bermuda is an other world”….. “yes a world stuck in the 1930′s world”…. and look where it’s gotten us so far…..

    • Dinosaurmedia says:

      I think it just boils down to econiomic inbalances at the core – if Blacks in this country were as well off as Whites I do not think we would have so much hatred amongst ourselves.

      What to do to solve that divide I do not know – I suppose the blacks should just live with the cards they were delt and the Whites should tape over the rear view mirror and pretend it all never happened.

      Wait that is why we are where we are…

      Lord help us all.

  27. FrankTalk says:

    Any chance of a comment?

    “Examples where the ILO considered conditions met for a minimum operational service include a ferry service, ports, underground railway, transportation of passengers and commercial goods, postal services, refuse collection service, the mint, banking services, petroleum sector services, education services, and animal health services.”


  28. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    Are we serious, the unloading of chicken feed is an essential service…

    God forbid, chickens have essential service rights!!

    The power of legislation is limitless.

    London, England

  29. bluebird says:

    Those whom play the race card are the “RACISTS”

  30. Batty Tramp says:

    Bye Bye PLP and their lies
    Drove my SUV to KFC for chicken and fries
    And Chris and LV and the rest of those byes singin
    PLP officially died…
    PLP officially died…

  31. Sara says:

    I think the bigger question here is why is it such a big deal to give a 21 day notice to strike? Why is that such a difficult task? Is it because it requires advance preparation? Is it because you have to be somewhat organized? What is the problem really?

  32. Rhonda Neil says:

    My question is why solutions can only be found, after a sit down…. Our govt and not just the OBA, should be able to resolve issues before they escalate… BIU meeting are the last resort… we don’t need laws to stop or slow down the only thing that get things done…

  33. AgeBees says:

    Don’t back down Minister Fahy. Break the BIU of its bad habits!

  34. X man says:

    I think that the OBA is stepped over it’s boundaries here”
    Try this and you will divide Bermuda and take one hell of a beating in the next Election.
    This should have never even been suggested without some thought to it – already you will have 60% of the
    population now crying that the UBP is back ! because of these comments – these are very sensitive and delicate times for Bermuda
    thus this is going to spark another fire!
    I’m sure the OBA has opened the door for Mark Bean! – he will be firing back on all four’s!
    OBA is going to shoot itself in the foot for this – this is going to be big! – and to think they were doing a pretty fair Job
    before this.

  35. It is the intent…and responsibility of this or any other governance of this jurisdiction to preserve life and property…maritime law provides guidence to marine and port.I want all Bermuda to realise that letting a younge girl out in Wellington St. George was the wrong thing to do…what resulted from it!???On taking charge of a fair you become responsible for safety…agreed …or not?

  36. As a licensed professional…you are taking a responsability!No other interpretation exists!

  37. aqua cadit resurgere says:

    It is the intent…and responsibility of this or any other governance of this jurisdiction to preserve life and property…maritime law provides guidence to marine and port.I want all Bermuda to realise that letting a younge girl out in Wellington St. George was problitatic in that it made a statement about our licensing system…either there is accepted responsability or …there is law…providing that a fair is the accepted responsability of the provider through legislation or the license is an unlawful act!

  38. Valirie Marcia Akinstall says:

    Okay, it’s not the 21 day notice to strike, as it is the opportunity that Fahy had to speak directly to Furbert and tell him about this Bill coming to the House. Why? Because when you build a working relationship with your professional counterpart, you build a strong relationship based upon trust, the ability to speak honestly and discreetly (no secret tapes), and keeping the lines of communication open, NOT a failure to communicate.

    You build the relationship so that when everyone else is far less than objective, at the very least, the two of you have the ability to sit quietly and talk it through.

    In other words Fahy, your counterpart, NOT your subordinate, was prepared to build a personal business relationship that would benefit Bermuda as Bermuda rebuilds and repairs itself. And you responded with notification by email from your PS – now that’s the disrespect.

    For those of you who think that unions have not changed or cannot change, those who will take preempted strikes then pretend that it’s in the best interest of Bermuda, here is broken trust. Remember you refused and destroyed the olive branch. Are you really willing to test the will of the union?

    OBA, stop lighting the fire then pretending that you have not a clue what has happened or why Furbert is both surprised and disappointed.

    Well, I guess your have made your response to building a sound working relationship placed upon a 21 day footing ONLY.

    Counterpoint, it looks like Furbert may well respond to your delicate insensitivities – by pigeon messenger, perhaps?

    London, England

  39. aqua cadit resurgere says:

    ok…why did marine and ports get their collective underware in a twist,let me see…well the maintenance isn’t scheduled…why not you ass?er…ask…sorry…it is done on saterday sunday and after hours…by present staff…at time and a half and double time…tripple time if Sunday is a holiday…dey got deah cake and ate it too….alright…..this being the case it is abundantly clear money is the issue….so let us hire full time maintenance to work after hours at straight pay, a seperate crew altogether…maybe a portuguese cleaning company…they work at night for straight pay…maybe we should look at some people from overseas…someone from somewhere where people are struggling to feed themselves…some one we could help that would be grateful for the opportunity to work….oh …wait a minute….there are plenty of people right hear in Bermuda experiencong just that….ask anyone over fifty years of age…I bet you they would be very grateful!

  40. X man says:

    This will back fire on the OBA – mark my words!
    It’s not like everything is so rosie in Bermuda and all the problems is solved’
    Bermuda has some real problems that just can’t be fixed right away thus the patience is running thin.
    There is a lot of fire works in the Political arena than it’s ever been , more and more anouncements
    of Jobs lost dos’nt help, Racist outburst from those put in sensitive positions, and many people still out of work
    after the OBA was voted in with the promise that Jobs would be created.
    Now your trying to stop the Union from Marching — do this and Racism in Bermuda will open up so wide
    that it might never recover. — as a political observer with no attachment to no Political Party that
    see’s trouble – big trouble here.
    The OBA is definitely putting Marc Bean in the Drivers seat now.
    OBA ‘ scrap this !