Video: Minister Jason Hayward On Labour Day

September 7, 2020

“I want you to know that you are valued and the work you do is much appreciated,” Minister of Labour Jason Hayward told attendees at today’s Labour Day celebrations.

Minister Hayward — the former President of the BPSU — said, “While I have given numerous speeches in recognition of the annual Labour Day celebrations, this one is profoundly different. It’s a different speech for a very different time.

“This is usually a day when we celebrate your hard work and your contribution to the economy. We usually celebrate the sacrifices made and give thanks for our ability to work, for access to jobs, fair wages and opportunities to grow. While we celebrate these things this year, we also feel a sense of burden and concern for the future of labour in this our island home.

“I know we are probably tired of hearing it, but the unprecedented events of the last 6 months changed everything as we knew it. It has pulled the rug from under so many hard working people, people who gave a hard day’s work every day before the pandemic hit.

“As we prepare for what has been termed a ‘new normal’, there are workers who feel no sense of normalcy. So many in our labour force, so many who work so hard, have been hit the hardest. The economic hardship for these workers is real!

“This morning I stand here with the weight of immense responsibility on my shoulders. I have listened to many of you. I hear your concern, I see your worry, and I sense your fear for the future; for the well-being of your families. You are wondering how you will make it through this lingering storm. You’re wondering how you will make ends meet, how you will make it through today, let alone tomorrow or the week. Your fear is justified.

“But, I want you to know that you are not alone. Your fear is our fear. Bermuda is travelling through a time for which there is no template. We need you as much as you need us and we are not only behind you for the long haul, we are in front of you, doing what we can to clear the way for you to return to the workforce.

“Know that your well-being and that of your families is on the hearts and minds of this Government. As a labour Government, we realize it is not just our responsibility…it is our duty to support labour and, because of this duty, we are working around the clock to ensure you stay afloat as we travel through the rough waters ahead.

“Bermuda’s longstanding success was because of you and I have no doubt, our future success will too be because of you.

“And, because of this, we in the Ministry of Labour and indeed we in the Government have one priority—getting you back to work. This is at the top of our agenda and we are working relentlessly to achieve this.

“As the Minister of Labour, I have had to make some tough decisions but today, I am pleased to share with you the efforts being made to carry you through the rough times ahead.

“By now, you would have heard about the supplemental benefit being offered as a temporary life-line to those who are in financial need. And by now, I’m hoping that those of you who are unemployed due to COVID -19 have collected and completed the application. Remember, this benefit is different from Financial Assistance and doesn’t require the same type of information. Successful applicants will receive monthly benefits and Health Insurance will be covered for those who need it.

“The Government’s establishment of this first-time benefit demonstrates that we are prepared to do what is necessary to ensure you are kept afloat.

“Last week I announced that The Ministry of Labour will be instituting a comprehensive Reemployment/Reintegration Strategy. The overarching objectives of this strategy is three-fold: 1] to reduce current unemployment, 2] to prevent future unemployment, and 3] to facilitate the ease of finding employment.

“Through the establishment of effective labour policy—that is, policy that ensures Bermudians are doing jobs that Bermudians can do—not foreigners; policy that encourages employers to employ new workers who are Bermudian; policy that encourages us to work closely with employers in order to establish memorandum of understanding that support getting Bermudians back to work.

“It is also, policy that ensures Bermudians have access to the training and development, the upskilling and reskilling needed to do those jobs. We will partner with Bermuda College to ensure specialized programs such as horticulture are afforded Bermudians.

“And, we will encourage the utilization of Professional Employment Agencies which can assist with matching talented workers to job opportunities that become available across Bermuda.

“This pandemic has put us in a perilous position with job levels showing significant contractions across all sectors. However, it should not be lost on anyone that prior to the coronavirus pandemic Bermuda was experiencing job growth. Bermudian jobs were up and there was positive job growth.

“One thing is for certain, the world — including Bermuda — will be different post COVID-19. While we the Government, is transforming in response to this new Bermuda, we trust you are gearing up to do the same.

“Sometimes, it may seem like the world takes workers’ efforts for granted. It may seem like workers are inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but I want you to know that you are valued and the work you do is much appreciated, and for that the Government of Bermuda thanks you.”

The Minister added, “We are the midst of an election, and yes, I do represent the big green machine, the Progressive Labour Party. OBA…you are not here today. And then there is talk about independents and other entities, but let me say this, right now the Progressive Labour Party has the juice. Can I get three cheers for Labour.”

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Comments (4)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    Where are the thanks for the private sector who pays the taxes to keep Bermuda’s Government workers working? They seem to be the majority based on today’s march. Minister Hayward has highlighted around 1,000 jobs in the private sector occupied by work permit holders. Let’s have 1,000 of those jobs occupied by ex Government workers, those in the admin and push paper sector. MOE and the Post Office being the most obvious.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Don’t be silly, no one wants to hear from people like me … people who work hard and keep their head down so they can provide for their family. Jason Hayward and Chris Furbert only want to hear from the people I employ … sorry, exploit.

  2. Jen says:

    Green machine … has the juice…. what kind of a professional speech was this. Grow up!

  3. Union Thug says:

    Who said we have to act professional?