Clarien Staff Vote For Union Representation

January 15, 2015

[Updated] Non-managerial administrative and clerical employees of Clarien Bank voted today [Jan 15] to recognise the Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] as their sole bargaining agent, with 79% of voters supporting union recognition.

A statement from BPSU President Jason Hayward said, “The Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU] is pleased to announce that non-managerial administrative and clerical employees of Clarien Bank Limited have voted, this morning, to recognise the BPSU as their sole bargaining agent.

“The ballot conducted by the Labour Relations Officer, Ms. Gabrielle Stewart, of the Department of Workforce Development revealed that 79% of voters supported union recognition.

“The certification ballot comes after many months of discussions with Clarien Bank Limited representatives, the Department of Workforce Development and the BPSU.

“The Union applauds the workers for taking the initiative to secure representation in their workplace and the patience that they displayed during this long process.

“The recognition of certification is an important historic milestone for the BPSU as this is only the second time that a local bank has been unionized, with the first being the former Provident Bank Limited.

“The Union wishes to thank the Management of Clarien Bank Limited for their professionalism during this process. BPSU are hopeful that they can collectively forge a partnership for the mutual benefit of the workers.”

Update 4.21pm: A statement from Clarien Bank said, “The Bermuda Public Service Union submitted an application under the Trade Union Act of 1965 to the Bermuda Department of Workforce Development to be certified as the Collective Bargaining Agent for non-management clerical and administrative workers of Clarien Bank Limited.

“Following a formal vote conducted this morning under the guidance of Workforce Development, BPSU and Clarien Bank, employees have voted in favor of unionization. Clarien Bank respects the rights of its employees and will work with BPSU and Workforce Development to formalize the unionization terms.”

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Comments (52)

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  1. watching says:


  2. Trickle Down Esq. says:

    Oh no I resigned too soon !

    • Strike fund says:

      The result is pretty comprehensive and hopefully good news in terms of job security etc.

      Do the 21% that voted no have to either join the union or donate the equivalent amount to charity? This is the bit about unionization here that is crazy.

      • I and I says:

        Yes under a collective agreement , even though the 21% have voted no , they will still receive the benefits that the other 79% fought for !So it is only fitting that they donate their share of the bounty to charity!Dont you think that is a fair agreement?

    • Take A Stand BDA says:

      Trickie just go to the labour and development department, file a complaint under section 29A of the employment act re:Unfair Dismissal. This area of the act covers an employee who resigns if you felt the conduct of your employer forced you to terminate the relationship. It’s called constructional dismissal. BPSU may look at your case, investigate then fight to get you back on with the company.

  3. watchfuleyes says:

    Good for them.

  4. longtail says:

    Happy to see some union representation over there. BPSU has a strong backbone and will work hard for you.

    Onward and Upward!

  5. longtail says:


  6. aceboy says:

    Just don’t try and yunyunize Dr. Brown’s business.

  7. Shame says:

    Too bad for the 21% tall blades of grass…

  8. Buzz says:

    Next Brown&Co and Phoenix stores!!!!!

  9. David Henry says:

    “… as this is only the second time that a local bank has been unionized, with the first being the former Provident Bank Limited.”


    Well I can see why they’re so eager seeing as things worked out swimmingly for Provident Bank :)

  10. swing voter says:

    “The certification ballot comes after many months of discussions with Clarien Bank Limited representatives, the Department of Workforce Development and the BPSU.”

    WHY did it take so long…several months to accept your employees want to be officially represented shouldn’t take more than 3 working days

  11. BogglesDeMind says:

    Well, stick a fork in Clarien. It’s done.

  12. Robert says:

    Redundancies to come, they will start to weed out the unionized workers first.

  13. Nero says:

    what other private sector companies are unionized?

  14. Watcher55 says:

    I think BTC may follow the Clarion lead

    • LaVerne Furbert says:

      BTC has been unionised for years. Their staff are members of the BIU.

  15. Huh says:

    No disrespect to the unionized Clarien staff, but I have seen how poor the service can be in unionized banks abroad. The consequence will be that Clarien will most likely replicate the path of the former Provident Bank. I suspect that if HSBC & BNTB follow suit, we will definitely see the formation of a new robust Bermuda bank very soon.

  16. Family Man says:

    Lets hope they don’t follow the same path as the Bermuda Provident Bank …

    • flikel says:

      Actually, the Bermuda Provident Bank underwent a name change to the Bermuda Commercial Bank. Last time I checked, this bank is still very much in existence.

      • BogglesDeMind says:

        More to the story than that: founded in 1969; 40 percent owned by Barclays. Eventually they unionised, couldn’t function very well as a retail bank anymore. Barclay’s quit them and they had to scale back and retrench to focus only on commercial business (as a non-unionized bank) so became BCB in 1990. Great success story. Not.

        • flikel says:

          I don’t understand your point.

          Even non-unionized banks have suffered difficulty. The same bank you mentioned, Barclays, was on the verge of collapse in recent years and had to be bailed out by UK and US taxpayers.

          Locally, BNTB had major issues and the Bda Government helped come to the rescue.

          • BogglesDeMind says:

            Point is, IMO, unionization had much to do with the failure of Provident as a retail bank. Higher costs relative to competitors, declining ability to compete on service, and unattractiveness of the presence of the union to foreign investors in BDA all significant factors.

    • Serious Though says:

      Provident sound like … No a Bank!

    • Neighbors12 says:

      Provident Bank is Still around…its just a name change people Bermuda Commmerical Bank

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

    This is HUGE…what is taking HSBC and Bank of Butterfield so long. Usually they follow suit. When one bank does something the other will follow their lead! I know that is what happens with their bank charges!!

  18. Politically Incorrect says:

    I’m sure the union needs the money.

  19. Serious Though says:

    I think with the way thing we’re done before changing from Capital G to Clarien Bank, overnight staff need assurance of labor of worthiness. The Investors are somehow unknown.
    To use a former Defense Sec.. D.R
    “there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know”

  20. PJ says:

    From what I’ve heard, the staff have been treated a certain way since the change of ownership. I heard that they withdrew the mortgage subsidy that staff were entitled to with very little notice. Surely cutting a benefit that is essentially part of staff salary packages isn’t exactly honorable behavior? Especially when it is done with little notice.

  21. Observer says:

    The government really needs to look into all of the banking practices. It seems that in the market place none of the banks wish to facilitate mortgage borrowing to local residents. The interest rates (even to those with with down payments of more than 40%) are ridiculous.
    i was told by a mortgage advisor at one bank that they basically matched their rate to the other major bank on the island and that there was no room for negotiation on interest rates, despite me having a large down payment and a good salary. Isn’t that called pricing collusion? Isn’t that illegal in the rest of the world?

  22. Jahstice says:

    Fitting end to the clown show that transpired at this bank over the last 12 months… Such a shame too as some good people fled the Clarien mess – staff and clients. Glad I pulled my dollars out. how many times u think Sir David has flipped his grave watchin their ignorance. Power to the staff for standing up united!

  23. Rhonnie aka Blue Familiar says:

    Well, that’s disappointing.
    Nothing like people who can’t think for themselves.

    • underwhatrockdoyoureside? says:

      They thought they’d prefer to be Unionized!

    • Jonah says:

      Ummm! It’s my guess it was quite the opposite – the thinking here is that group think and collective bargaining will result in less disappointment…

  24. Truedat says:

    Uh uh that’s not my job smh

  25. Former Union Member says:

    I think it is hard to understand the atmosphere or culture of a firm unless you actually work there. Having said that, I wonder if this vote for ‘representation’ would have succeeded if Clarion had been consistent in how they treated their staff since the ownership/management change? Clearly there isn’t much confidence by staff in their employer.

  26. Yes I says:

    Good for the staff!! CLARIEN and the Gibbons’ are some….. and it’s unfortunate they have been allowed to reign supreme. Oh well, next.

  27. Neighbors12 says:

    Its not about be less disappointed..its about the staff having a voice and having fairness in the workplace…they have nothing to lose.

  28. Culture of Fear - Fishy says:

    ………..really amazing how these lot didn’t have the courage to make this move under the Cap G brand when the bank was owned by our premier family.

    Yet all of a sudden with foreign ownership they want union representation, I wonder if they have been told to vote for the union so that when the bank is profitable they can start doing work to rule and giving trouble in order for the new investors to sell out and then the local family does a discounted buy-back………..never smoke without fire, very fishy

  29. Juan de Bermudez says:

    this really shows how the Clarien executive have been handling staff, customers and their dreams to be an international bank. the alarm bells are ringing head to the nearest exit with your money

  30. Huh says:

    Is the Bermuda Commercial Bank unionized?

  31. Politically Incorrect says:

    Given how the staff have been treated since the change in ownership i can understand why a majority of staff feel they need union representation. However, it is a mistake long term as the relationship between management and staff will deteriorate further. Managing a small banking operation without complete flexibility in human resource management is a recipe for disaster.

  32. AC2017 says:

    You’re right Politically Incorrect, this is a disaster for Clarien senior management. I think their business is now shot. Makes no sense to bank or work for them long term in my mind.