BTUC: Govt. Has Taken Five Unions To Court

November 16, 2015

[Updated] The Bermuda Trade Union Congress [BTUC] said that Government has taken five public sector unions to the Supreme Court, and the BTUC “propose that all public sector workers remain at work pending a determination by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court…”

The statement said, “Members should be aware that the Government has taken five public sector unions to the Supreme Court. The hearing dates have been set for November 24th, 25th, and 26th. 2015.

“The Government’s aim is to secure permanent injunctions against the unions, resulting from the reaction of members to a threatening letter issued by the Minister of Finance E.T. Bob Richards on January 23rd, 2015.

“That letter threatened to reduce the wages of Government public sector workers and/or cut Government jobs without recourse to bargaining and negotiation procedures mandated by law between the Government and the five public sector unions.

“In correspondence dated 23rd October 2015 and 10th November 2015, the Government has threatened further Supreme Court proceedings if public services employees attend the scheduled court hearing in which they are directly involved and their future rights will be determined.

“In addition, the Government has denied permission for Executive Officers of the unions who are public officers to attend the court hearing.

“As a matter of common sense and based on legal advice, the BTUC is firmly of the view that the members are entitled to be present at the pending Supreme Court hearing in which their interests will be determined.

“We take the view that as a matter of fundamental rights and freedoms, public sector workers of Bermuda need a definitive decision from the Supreme Court on their right to attend the court hearing which directly touches upon their interests.

“We therefore propose that all public sector workers remain at work pending a determination by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bermuda on the first day of the hearing.”

Update 6.40pm: In response, the Government said: “The Bermuda Trade Union Congress issued a press statement today mischaracterizing the position of the Government of Bermuda regarding the issue of workers in the public service attending Supreme Court hearings next week.
 
“The Government has never, as the BTUC release wrongly infers, denied permission to such workers to attend the hearings. Instead, our concern has always been that they should not unlawfully absent themselves from work.

“The Head of the Civil Service wrote to the BTUC member unions on 23 October stating that public sector workers could attend court proceedings should they ask for and obtain the permission from their supervisors. Counsel reiterated this position on 10 November.

“In fact, the very essence of these court proceedings involves the fact that workers in the public service absented themselves from work in January 2015 for three days without permission.
 
“We believe it is unfortunate that the BTUC chose to make these statements rather than work with Government to find amicable solutions. The Head of the Civil Service invited discussions with the unions on 23 October with a view to resolving the dispute without needing to go to court. To this date, no response has been provided to this invitation.
 
“For our part, we will continue to respect the court processes and trust that the BTUC and its member unions will do the same.”

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (65)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. hmmm says:

    The whole of the union does NOT need to be present. UNLESS those representative that are present are INCAPABLE of disseminating and communicating the court ruling/findings correctly.

    ARE YOU INCAPABLE?

    • You’d taken the proverbial words right out of my mouth :-( Right on Minister Bob Richards! “Many of them are no-more than two bit punks in three piece suits”
      For those who voted for the P.L.P. I know you will(as long as my assss points down)regret it if they are to gain “Power” and become Bermudas ruling Party anytime in the future…Sad yes, but true :-(

      • Bob says:

        Ray Ray- when people are unable to find legitimate fault with those they support they in turn are no better than those they despise…

        One man’s two bit punk in three piece suits is another’s board room gangster….

        • This goes out to all the “Bobs”. In 14 days my wife and I and dogs will be leaving Bermuda for good and leaving it for you all to sort out your own problems…I’ve never seen so much racism in this Island as I’ve witness since I’d returned 25yrs. ago (I think it’s too much TV / movies all having a negative influence on the children)
          God bless Bermuda and its people!

    • Jimmy says:

      Certainly the union senior leaders should be there – but pulling in all the members would simply be threatening.

      • frank says:

        if my union is charged with a crime in court and I am a member of that union than that includes me which means that I have to be present in court by law I could de arrested for not showing up
        and that is the law

        • hmmm says:

          BWAAAAAHHHHH ! In your dreams

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          There are no charges to answer to, this is an injunction forcing the unions to abide by the CBA’s they voluntarily signed and the labour laws as laid out in the legislature. If the the unions could be trusted to do this, this injunction wouldn’t be necessary, but since they can’t, it is required. The union has been breaking contracts, agreements and laws for decades now, do you now understand why the people don’t trust them.

        • bluwater says:

          “if my union is charged with a crime in court and I am a member of that union than that includes me which means that I have to be present in court by law I could de arrested for not showing up
          and that is the law”

          Tell me that you’ll be representing yourself as well…..;-)

    • The U.B.P. have always wanted to BUST the Union, and for you Brain Damaged Union members who voted these Dreamers in, I hope your jobs go first.

      • Bob says:

        Brain dead would suggest that the PLP was a viable option..Blame the elitist, deceptive and arrogant PLP politicians that made the conversion palatable, if only because they were so very, very bad…

        I am no OBA fan and didn’t vote for them, however I can certainly understand why many stayed away from the voting booths and or closed their eyes and voted OBA..

        It’s not good enough simply stating how that the OBA have overreached and are only friends to business and country clubs – the PLP have to produce humble politicians with real interest in improving the lives of the lower and middle class Bermudian, regardless of race or spend an eternity on the sidelines. Further where are the Dames, Colonels, Doctors and Lawyers now that the PLP are not governing? That is a picture that is not flattering nor helpful to the cause…

        • They stayed away because they were duped into believing lies about 2000 jobs and corruption and all the while receiving chump change from the $350,000 election money.
          Now they see what U.B.P are about they are regretting they didn’t vote or voted them in, some people will always be the laughing stock of Bermuda’s political game.
          Three hundred years of psychological damage really shows.
          FOOLS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • shutthemdown says:

            say what you want but time is not on your side.

            OBA will be dead.

          • hmmm says:

            “political game” You just let slip your motivation.
            You are not in politics for Bermuda and Bermudians Onion Juice, you are in it for your own personal political gain.

            Tell us which member of the PLP you really are.

          • jt says:

            Still waiting for your comment on the AG report OJ.
            Maybe it’s things like that that lost the plp the election. But you’re to cowardly to even acknowledge it let alone comment.

          • Sara says:

            No they didn’t stay because of that! If they truly believed that they would have gotten up of their butts and voted them in. They stayed away because they knew they couldn’t vote for the PLP for obvious reasons but they didn’t want to give their vote to the OBA either. They let the chips fall were they may so to speak.

        • State the Obvious says:

          They took their money and ran, leaving the rest to cope with less. They never cared about lower and middle class Bermudians, the auditor general’s report proves that beyond any shadow of doubt.

      • jt says:

        Why are the unions upset? They aren’t losing a thing if the injunction is granted.

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          Shhhhhhhhh, the BTUC don’t want their members to know that

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I think the BTUC needs to release letters sent to them from the government with regards to; first the January letter about seeking to continue the furlough days; and second, the correspondences from Oct 23 and Nov 10th… unedited and without BTUC commentary. This he said she said is ridiculous and given how many times the union has been caught distorting and misrepresenting facts already, they need prove the validity of the language they used in this recent statement.
      They also need to release, in the interest of being transparent and open, any and all communiques between their leadership and the PLP leadership about how they coordinate or are instructed to respond to matters regarding labour relations with government. We know they exist, so by not doing so they are only proving their own disregard for open and transparent democracy.

  2. Legalgal says:

    What do they mean by this? It is unclear? Is it a sit in? Are they going to occupy the court/places of work?!

  3. San George says:

    Civil Servant wages should not exceed the ability of your employer to pay you.
    Work with these Trust Babies. They are already in over their heads at a boat race.

    Quo Fata Ferunt

  4. Cow Polly says:

    Hallelujah! Permanent injunctions to stop the Unions from threatening / calling wild cat strikes, Bob Richards is my hero

    • shutthemdown says:

      Got news for you.

      It will NEVER happen

      The people will always have the ablity to strike.

      And if we have to enforce that right then that will be fun times.

      suggest you find another hero.

      p.s. heros are DEAD

      • Not exactly says:

        The right to strike is accompanied by the responsibility to give notice. This injunction does not affect the right to strike one bit. It simply reinforces the illegality of wild strikes (something the BIU agreed to stop doing when Govt forgave the $15M Berkeley performance bond).

  5. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    Can they write a more onesided piece if you tried… “reaction of members to a threatening letter …”. It’s like they opened the text book on ‘How to write a statement that overrides common sense through emotional phrasing’ in order to keep their membership from thinking anything beyond what they want. This injunction does nothing more than force the unions to abide by their agreements, in the same way that the unions says that employers should have to abide by them, that is that any future action by the union as relates to labour relations must first go through proper proceedings, not straight to labour walk out.

  6. Observation says:

    Why can’t we understand the Government pay our salaries!! Get lawyers to negotiate your Union members interests and go to work IF you are a paid Government worker. Consider….If you were paying an employee, would you be happy to pay for services while your worker is out doing other business not related to what you are paying them for? Can we just act responsibly. These hearings are about upholding already established rules for calling strikes….

  7. Double S says:

    If the BTUC believes that abiding by the CBA requirements, which they entered into on a voluntary basis, is infringing the rights of their members, then employers should have the same right to disregard their responsibilities as well based on the fact that they infringe upon their rights as well.

    And how does Govt ban anyone from the court room? It is up to the Supreme Court justice to decide, not the Govt.

    If the Chief Justice agrees to open the doors to the court then union members should be able to take a paid or unpaid vacation day to attend the proceedings. In no way should they be paid while taking time off work.

  8. Triangle Drifter says:

    For what reason would the union leadership want to fill up the court with the membership other than attempting to intimidate the court?

    Another thought. Who pays the court justices? Are they not civil servants? They seem to be in a position of making a judgment on themselves. Maybe somebody can clear that up.

  9. who cares most says:

    Can we the populace know which 5 Unions they holding charges against?
    If I’m not mistaken there are about 8 different Unions that make up the BTUC.
    So why are they discriminating it should be ALL or nothing.
    Poor excuse of Country $$$ being wasted.

    • hmmmmmm says:

      Because not all unions came out in support of the furlough days.

      • who cares most says:

        So tell me which Unions didnt support that cause and if your not sure ask somebody first

        • hmmmmmmm says:

          police didn’t join, musicians didn’t join and fire didn’t join

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      There are no charges, it is an injunction to prevent the unions from not abiding by their CBA’s and labour laws

  10. Oh,I see now says:

    hmmm says:
    November 16, 2015
    “The whole of the union does NOT need to be present. UNLESS those representative that are present are INCAPABLE of disseminating and communicating the court ruling/findings correctly.”

    ARE YOU INCAPABLE?

    “The Government’s aim is to secure permanent injunctions against the unions, resulting from the reaction of members to a threatening letter issued by the Minister of Finance E.T. Bob Richards on January 23rd, 2015.

    “That letter threatened to reduce the wages of Government public sector workers and/or cut Government jobs without recourse to bargaining and negotiation procedures mandated by law between the Government and the five public sector unions.

    If Bob would not have waited until the last minute because he was depending on civil servants to just fall in line he would not have had to send such a letter.In answer to your question I do believe the union leaders are quite capable in their powers of dissemination.

    Now who’s the one being obtuse?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      The letter didn’t threaten wages, it asked the unions to come back to the table to discuss the option for continuing furlough days as insufficient cuts has been made to meet the budget requirements, insufficiencies the unions were aware of as they had been supposedly in the meeting to try and find the cuts.
      As for the unions ability to effectively disseminate, as per labour guidelines, when there are cases where the unions are holding meeting to inform their membership on matters, and a membership vote is not being sought, it is the responsibility of shop stewards to attend and then disseminate the information to the members in the departments… when was the last time they did that.

    • hmmm says:

      Who is being obtuse… you !!!

  11. Navin Johnson says:

    It is about time and long overdue…….

  12. Sick & Tired says:

    So here’s my question . . . if you receive a summons to go to court, are you able to send your lawyer to represent you and then disseminate the information back to you, or are you required to appear with your legal representation?

    • Family Man says:

      It’s more like if your company, for example American Airlines, receives a summons, all employees are NOT required to attend nor is the entire Board of Directors.

      • Sick & Tired says:

        American Airlines is private owned. The unions are owned by the members who pay their contributions, so who are they actually taking to court.

  13. Marge says:

    Wake up Bermudians…the unions have always run this Island ,the ruling party think they are in charge NOT !!!!!!!

  14. Coffee says:

    Doesn’t Bob know that the judges are unionized ?

  15. abc says:

    rembder ronald reegan ur a joke its takes b@lls dats all

  16. 32n64w says:

    Applying BTUC ‘logic’ tens of thousands of Bermudians affected by their refusal to share in the economic pains experienced by taxpayers from the unions’ selfish decision to even consider continued furlough days or a return to the negotiation table should simialarly be entitled to attend court proceedings in order to witness the BTUC’s efforts to resist compliance with arms length negotiated CBAs and prevailing legislation.

    But something tells me rational Bermudians would prefer the courts decide whether the laws of the land should be followed and not a mob of self interested and purposely misinformed activists.

  17. Zevon says:

    Looks like the unions are expecting to lose in court.

  18. Ringmaster says:

    Clearly Immigration and Customs officers at the airport have been instructed to be as unhelpful, sloppy, slow, belligerent (all the while smiling and hoping for a reaction)and generally be a pain in the **s. They took about 5 minutes for each person last night. As most of the plane was filled with Bermudians things may have got heated by the time all had been allowed back in. Absolute disgrace and the lot should be suspended at least a year without pay. Cheaper than firing.

  19. shutthemdown says:

    In fact a reset is needed in Bermuda anyway.

    Cant wait for things to happen and some ppl to leave.

    bye

  20. curious says:

    Would now be a good time to ask the unions to open their books?

  21. Onion Juicer says:

    Which lawyer is representing them?

  22. curious says:

    They do not know yet.

  23. Haile Selassie I, original name, Tafari Makonnen (was born July 23, 1892, near Harer, Ethiopia, died Aug.27th 1975, Addis Ababa) Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974 who sought to modernize his country and who steered it into the mainstream of post-World War II African politics. He brought Ethiopia into the League of Nations and the United Nations and made Addis Ababa the major centre for the Organization of African Unity (now African Union).
    It was there where he’d made a statement that is relevant up to this very day; “Until the colour of a mans skin is of no-more significance than the colour of his eyes there will be war…” (That relates to Bermuda as well)

Sign Up For Our Free Email Newsletters

email-banners-good-news-370

Latest Bernews Current Affairs Podcasts