Stevedoring Services & BIU Reach Agreement

February 28, 2015

BIU Bermuda Industrial Union Stevedoring, February 27 2015-1[Updated] Stevedoring Services and the BIU have reached an agreement which will see Stevedoring institute a wage freeze for the upcoming 2016 fiscal year as well as freeze hiring on certain posts.

Warren Jones, the CEO Polaris Holding Company Limited said, “In June of last year, we informed you that the Portworkers’ Division of the Bermuda Industrial Union and the Management of Stevedoring Services Limited had signed a new collective bargaining agreement for the period of 2013 – 2015.”

“I remarked that it was my hope that Stevedoring Services become the model for what labour relations can be in Bermuda. The successful conclusion of these negotiations in just three meetings demonstrates that we are making positive strides towards that goal.

“The hallmarks of this negotiation, as they were a year ago, were frank communication, honesty and transparency on both sides of the table. You may recall that when we spoke to you last year, we had agreed a retroactive wage increase for fiscal 2014 of 1.7% and a wage freeze for the 2015 fiscal year which was to be reviewed at the conclusion of this fiscal year.

“As you would be aware from the media coverage of our six-month financials, Polaris Holding Company Limited, parent company for Stevedoring Services Limited has not enjoyed a positive financial year. As a result, the proposed wage freeze for this year was agreed.

“Additionally, we agreed a wage freeze for the upcoming 2016 fiscal year, with the caveat that this position be reviewed at the end of the year. We will return to the table prior to the conclusion of the next fiscal year to negotiate wages only and the outcome will be based on the financial performance of the Company.

“We also agreed to reduce our staffing headcount. This is to occur within both management and the unionized ranks. Management has agreed to freeze the hiring on one senior management post and to reduce the management headcount by one.

“With two members of the Portworkers’ Division retiring early in the fiscal year, we have also agreed to freeze hiring for those posts and review that position at the end of the fiscal year.

“This will reduce our staffing by four positions and positively impact our bottom line. Additionally, Management has introduced efficiencies around inventory, cross-training and continues to focus on improving service delivery.

“I sincerely thank each member of our staff and the Executive of the Bermuda Industrial Union for agreeing a way forward that allows Stevedoring Services to continue to weather this difficult economic period.”

Update 6.57pm: BIU President Chris Furbert said, “This is a good example of how the BIU continues to work with our social partners because we understand that one size does not fit all. The Management of Stevedoring Services Ltd. and the Union continue to work together with the Board of Directors chaired by Cheryl Hayward-Chew that was elected in 2013. The relationship has gotten even stronger since Mr. Warren Jones’ appointment in January 2014.

“This set of negotiations took us only three meetings to reach an agreement and that says a lot about the mutual respect that each party has shown towards each other. No doubt there will times that we disagree, but because of the honesty, trust and frank relationship that we are building we should be able to solve our differences fairly quickly.

“Mr. Jones has outlined most of what is in the 3 year agreement but I must add that there is a change in the vacation schedule. One to five years of service will increase from 13 days to 15 days. We look forward to working together with the Management Team of Stevedoring Services Ltd. in the future. ”

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Comments (16)

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  1. somuchless says:

    I’m quite sure that these people understand the difference. Take a pay freeze or loose jobs. Guess they ain’t gov workers. Lol

    • Make a new plan Stan says:

      It’s a wage freeze not a wage reduction……that they agreed to…….the situation may have been different if every month the equivalent of the cost of an entire utility bill, a full week’s worth of groceries or more was going to be removed from their pay.

      • Creamy says:

        If one day’s pay is enough to feed a family of four for a week, you’re earning a ton of money.

  2. So much more says:

    Who are you referring to as ‘these people.’ If you are referring to the stevedores, you should have a lot of respect for these men, who are both highly skilled and sacrifice a lot of their personal time away from their families to work because they enjoy it and take pride in what they do.

    I’m not saying that other people in the work force don’t have the same work ethic, but to see these men and how they work as a team is amazing.
    Any wrong move on those docks can kill them.

    Please leave the government workers and politics out of this blog.. It speaks volumes for the new management team and their relationship with the union.

    Congratulations Mr.Jones, Mr. Furbert and the stevedores.

  3. Observer says:

    Yay to reasonable people!

    Our place of work has had a wage freeze for three years, will be four this coming year.

    The Union members at stevedoring should be held up as an example for their ‘slightly-less-informed’ Union brethren who party (oops, a slip – I meant ‘protest’) on cabinet.

  4. Get Your Facts Straight says:

    FYI- Gov workers have been on a wage freeze for the better part of 5 years!

    Check your facts first!

    • somuchless says:

      Regardless, That wasn’t the point of my post.

    • Creamy says:

      Myth. Civil servants get around it by having increases within grades, and also by getting upgraded.
      I’d like to know how many civil servants aren’t earning more now than when that purorted pay “freeze” was first put in place.
      I bet there aren’t many.

    • Paid Blogger says:

      yea but that is based upon their performance!!!!

  5. Never Never says:

    Stupid is as stupid does if negotiations goes well they still throw shade can’t fix stupid SMDH

  6. Me says:

    Mr Jones has always been a fair & sensible sensible person. Great job to all involved!

  7. St. D says:

    This is an example of BOTH sides stepping into the middle ground. It is an example of change on every level of an organisation. Not simple, not easy and takes time but it can work.

  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    Lucky them to have a wage freeze in return for job security when the company is not profitable.

    Ask around the private sector & see how many have taken job cuts, wage freezes, wage reductions & furlough days in order to get by & not see their companies go the way of Smiths & Triminghams.

    The message has gotten through to the stevedores. Money does not fall from the sky. They see first hand the downturn in the economy in the form of far fewer containers coming across the docks.

  9. Charlly X says:

    Three Cheers to both sides for ” the hallmark of negotiations were frank discussion honesty and transperancy on both.sides of the table ” ! Hello can you hear me now ? .

  10. JUNK YARD DOG says:


    To promote greater productivity and for those who improve the company bottom line, management could offer an annual BONUS to be given by the select management committee to deserving employees.

    The bonus should be in the form of cash .

    There is only one reason to go to work and that reason is money.

    A pat in the pocket is better than a pat on the back.

    The future of any business and this country is dependent on.

    Money .