Weeks: Social Worker Job Losses Is Concerning

March 19, 2015

weeks michael[Updated] “The news surrounding job losses by social workers is deeply concerning and reinforces the belief among countless Bermudians, that the OBA is taking Bermuda in the wrong direction,” said Shadow Minister of Youth, Sports, Community & Culture Michael Weeks.

Mr Weeks added, “Under the OBA, Bermudian job losses have risen and businesses have continued to shut down. Combined with stagnating or falling wages and skyrocketing prices on food, electricity and other essentials, cutting more jobs especially among social workers is incompetent at best and foolhardy at worst.

“At this perilous time, social workers play a critical role in helping to support Bermudian families in need. As conditions worsen under the OBA, social workers are needed more than ever to help our families and stabilize our society.

“The numbers of Bermudians who have fallen below the poverty line or who are out of work is simply staggering. Social workers’ caseloads are already barely manageable.

“Cutting social workers means that those workers who remain may be overworked, stressed and despite their best efforts simply unable to keep up with the increasing demands placed on them. This means the quality of service may diminish and their ability to assist in the maintenance of family and social cohesion may also be diminished.

“This is simply the wrong move at the wrong time. We urge the OBA to reconsider this decision,” added Mr Weeks.

Bernews asked the Ministry on Tuesday about unofficial reports indicating there may be job losses, and we will update with their response if able.

Update 6.22pm: In response a Cabinet Office spokesperson said, “The Government can confirm that a hiring freeze with exemptions is in effect which means that only those posts deemed most critical to the delivery of public services will be filled. In addition, the Government can confirm that:

  • temporary relief workers, i.e. those persons who are filling vacant posts on a temporary basis will conclude service when their temporary contracts reach term.
  • temporary additional workers, i.e. those persons who are filling temporary additional posts, that are not substantive posts but were added to the organization on a temporary basis, will conclude service when their temporary contracts reach term.

“Wherein any of the temporary posts are deemed critical to the delivery of public services these contracts may be extended.

“The Government has also re-introduced its Voluntary Early Retirement Incentive Programme for officers who have attained the age of fifty-five to sixty-four years of age or who have completed 25 years of service for those in the Uniform Services.

“Senior Technical Officers are now working with their management teams to determine innovative solutions to ensure that public services continue to be delivered. In instances where staff reduction impacts service delivery the public will be advised accordingly.

“The Government will continue to work with Union partners to ensure that the resultant job enrichment and job enlargement opportunities are made available to public officers in a manner that is fair and in the best interest of all parties.

“As a final note, a hiring freeze is one of several measures considered a reasonable means of realizing cost savings as agreed with the leadership of the Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC].”

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Comments (46)

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  1. jt says:

    “Countless”. No.

    • jt says:

      Then again, perhaps yes.

      • Blankman says:

        It appears that Mr. Weeks definition of “countless” is “1, 2, 3, …. , what comes next?”

        After all, to avoid continuing furloughs the agreement signed off on by both sides included a hiring freeze and non-renewal of temporary employment contracts. Now that he’s starting to see the impact of that he’s somehow crying foul?

    • Cha says:

      It’s funny when I read this as I know a Bermudian social worker who has been living abroad but is coming back and working with gov’t soon. Let’s spread facts and not fear monger!

      • Ridiculous says:

        Howd she get a govt job ?? as a social worker who has been home for over a year and still been unable to find work… i’d really like to know??? sounds like another case of its not what you know but who you know.

  2. Tough Love says:

    This is truly sad. So who will look out for the hurting Bermudians now?

    • hmmm says:

      You and weeks need to seriously give it a rest….only this week the Grand Atlantic that cost was is 40 million or 60 million was in the news.

      Weeks you presided over that ….if we only had that money now, but the PLP told us we wanted them, but we didn’t. The were wrong.

      How about Port Royal.

      these were temporary jobs…I’m sad for anyone affected, but they were temporary jobs.

      It is disgusting the the PLP bangs on here after all they cost us….they cost these jobs is the bottom line.

      • and iI'm sticking to it says:

        Darling, you may want to consider that an eroding society will not be of any good to the future of Bermuda. Social work in my books in a futuristic approach in the less of evils. That being crime, social assistance, and other outcomes to the needs of a society that has received a blind eye.

    • Politricks says:

      They are temporary contract workers.

      Guess you shouldn’t have argued against the furloughs if you wanted to keep even temp workers on the payroll.

      • animallover says:

        Yes, I agree. Selfish people cause others to lose their jobs, why doesn’t Mr. Weeks understand that!

    • Xaxa says:

      How about their families? Just a thought.

  3. Lois Frederick says:

    So maybe the furlough wasn’t such a bad option right?

    • hmmm says:

      The article says that the BPSU agreed to this hiring freeze, so Weeks, throw your venom at the Union instead, why not …I guess anything but recognize the fruits of you and your PLP cronies actions.

  4. What part of “broke” don’t you, Shadow Minister Michael Weeks fail to understand? The Progressive Labour Party had dug such a huge hole while leading the Island and may I say, one that will possibly take decades to climb out of.
    You sir, do complain about many issues but please give the Government the answer/s to solving the issue if it isn’t right what they, (O.B.A.) are doing because this affects us all.

  5. anon says:

    IMF structural adjustment programs. Google it, and you’ll see why our government is doing these things to our citizens.

    • Dees says:

      Absolutely anon! Most of these nay sayers just have NO IDEA. Clueless to the bone! Wondering anound like Bermuda is the centre of the universe. They cannot grasp the severity of the situition we have been foolishly placed in. They cannot see that there is NO easy way out. They seem to think the PLP got the money from the great money tree in the sky. But alas…. when the money lenders come knocking at our door, thats when the real crying will begin. PLP have Zero credibility to anyone who can read big red numbers.

  6. 32n64w says:

    Perhaps Mr. Weeks can ask his fellow opposition members to explain to him where all the money went during their last seven years in Government where we witnessed record deficits and the ramping up of our debt burden thereby incurring massive interest obligations being paid to non-Bermudian lenders.

    The PLP sold us into financial slavery and now have the gumption to complain about it and blame the OBA for the fallout of their misguided ways. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad and misguided.

    PLP – betraying Bermudians for selfish political gain since 1998, one unemployed voter at a time.

  7. Politricks says:

    I love it.

    The BTUC/PLP marched, chanted, and threatened over the furlough days.

    They issued several proposals to prevent the furloughs from being continued.

    One of these was a hiring freeze across the civil service and defunding these positions as a means to avoid furloughs.

    Now the BTUC/PLP have the audacity to complain about the loss of temporary contract workers?

    Take your complaints to your BTUC/PLP comrades.

    But don’t worry BTUC/PLP at least you guys got to keep your 70 sick days and overtime pay.

    Your faux outrage is noted and is absolutely pathetic.

    Also, Mr. Weeks what happened to the hundreds of people who you claimed were lined to purchase a Grand Atlantic condo?

  8. And so? says:

    Correction. Electricity prices have actually fallen considerably.

  9. Common Sense says:

    Yes, we are paying a high price for re-electing the PLP. The monies ill-spent on BHC, Berkeley, BLDC, Port Royal, Court/police building, TCD, Faith Based Tourism, Beyoncé etc would all come in useful now, but the money is gone. Priorities?

    • mixitup says:

      That list goes on long before the plp. Don’t act like this is some new phenomenon.. the people need to wake up and get out of their corners.

      • Barracuda says:

        Trying to obfuscate and deflect as usual, when the PLP took over there were surplus monies in the coffers. Why the constant attempts to alter history ?

    • Dees says:

      Common Sense – And thats the money they can account for !!!! Just look at the waste right there!!! how about the 100′s of millions that have never been accounted for. How was it said – Unethical but not illegal. After all they have got up to it truly is astonishing that they even get a single vote. There must be something else luring their flock.

  10. The Dark Knight Returns says:

    I find that the family services department does as it pleases. Maybe instead of making jobs redundant Gov should put steps in place to ensure that social workers starting from the director is held accountable when not performing their duties with transparency.

  11. tom cooke says:

    Per capita we have the same dept ratio as Greece. .40K per person on island…

    • Not exactly says:

      I know it’s a typo but just to be clear that is 40k, not .40k!

  12. TonyC says:

    PATI soon. Then the real questions can start.

  13. Probably was due to anti social behaviour…. ennit?

  14. Ace girl says:

    We all know what the problem is, so why is Mr Weeks bleating on about it. Give us the solution instead.

  15. Unbelievable says:

    Here goes Weeks again having to be corrected by the OBA. He goes running his mouth only get shot down with the facts. This is a habit of his.

  16. Sky Pilot says:

    you and the rest of your cronies in the plp brought this mess on Bermudians and you casually forget about the Ex Pats AND Bermudians you chased away from the Island during your 14 year reign of terror.

    • animallover says:

      I had to have a screeming laugh over this one, Reign of terror, LOL Good one.

      • stunned... says:

        hyperbole yes, truth…well not so much lol

  17. Creamy says:

    Grand Atlantic $42m
    Swimming pool $24m
    Port Royal $24.5m
    TCD over run $15m
    Public Workers taking excessive sick dats to use their 14 weeks a year $10m

    The stupidity of “we have 100 buyers lined up for Grand Atlantic” Weeks: priceless.

  18. bermudaglobetrottersdotcom says:

    That is what oppositions do, raise issues, be they true or flagrant. Regardless of previous spending, the question is: What now?

    • Edmund Wells says:

      I wish that were true.

      But the Opposition simply objects to everything, and especially those things that involve reductions in Government spending.

      It’s opportunistic politicking. To address Government debt, Government spending must fall. The Opposition chooses to criticize each proposed reduction, while offering no realistic, constructive alternatives.

      It makes for great politics, but awful leadership. And it makes solving Bermuda’s financial problem more difficult.

      Is the electorate so blind that they cannot see through it? For the sake of Bermuda, I hope not. I hope it is clear that the Opposition’s complaints about spending cuts, offered without credible alternatives, are simply grandstanding.


  19. Navin johnson says:

    How about a few less supervisors

  20. LiarLiar says:

    The furlough negotiations included proposals by the BTUC to enact a hiring freeze and terminate temporary contract workers once their contract ends.

    This was as to avoid furloughs, avoid a decrease in overtime, avoid having to pay 1% more into their members’ pensions and ultimately avoid civil service redundancies of full time civil servants.

    Now some don’t like the results.

    Tale it up with the BTUC Mr. Weeks.

  21. Triangle Drifter says:

    Before Weeks & his cronies moan about job loses in the CS maybe he can explain why the CS is 50% larger now than it was in 1998 when his lot were voted in by the very same people who are now moaning about the loss of Government services. Why did the CS grow 50% when it was too large in 1998 to begin with & the population has not grown since 1998?

    Our daily fee for the maintenance of the PLP created debt is in the area of $400,000. For the math impaired that figure represents something in the area of $7 per day cost to every man, woman & child clinging to this rock. $50 per week each. $200 each per month each. Most households are paying more per month to service the national debt than their power bill.

    What part of these staggering figures do Weeks & Co. not understand. What part of broke do they not understand?

    Social Services, along with the rest of the Government have to cut costs & cut services. Coin does not fall from the sky.

  22. campervan says:

    Erm, you and your ace boys “spent” all the money and chased away half of the the IB expats, so now ordinary people like social workers have to pay the price for YOUR actions.

    Luckily for Bermuda, Mike Dunkley and his crew are working hard to rebuild our trashed economy again so that regular folks with a good attitude can get back to work.

  23. Lala says:

    I think Larry Burchall responds clearly to Weeks at http://bernews.com/2015/03/one-plus-one-equals-eleven/

    It’s about math not politics.

  24. What's that? says:

    Because YOUR Govt. drove this island intot he ground Mr. Weeks! A Phoenix has to catch fire before it can rise from the ashes!