Video: Deputy Premier Roban & Minister Hayward

August 30, 2021 | 6 Comments

[Updated] “The law will not be amended and we will stand firm in our position,” Deputy Premier Walter Roban said today [Aug 30].

The Deputy Premier was speaking at a press conference, along with Minister of Labour Jason Hayward,. The press conference has just concluded and we will have the full text later on, and in the meantime the live video replay is below and you can view all our live updates and videos of the matter here.

Update 1.05pm: Acting Premier Roban’s remarks:

Good morning.

I thought it important to speak directly to the people of Bermuda today. I am joined by my colleague the Minister of Labour, the Hon. Jason Hayward as well as other ministerial and parliamentary colleagues.

Over the last few days there has been an attempt to somehow portray the Government’s position on this Labour legislation as that of one individual. It is not.

Safeguarding the rights of working men and women is our common cause and in this we have worked for decades with our partners in Labour, Bermuda’s unions.

Today’s events show that that historic relationship is strained. Not because we no longer share common goals but because we disagree on a single provision in the law. That is not nor should it be personal. Unfortunately, this policy disagreement has been personalized. The unprecedented resolution of the BIU’s General Council which targeted the Premier and the Minister of Labour was simply wrong.

Minister Hayward will speak to the specifics of the law in this area but I wish to make it clear that his leadership on this issue has been defined by creating a framework of union strength that will enhance the protections for Labour in this country.

As I indicated in my comments last evening, this is an extremely disappointing time. My colleagues and I are working hard every day to drive the economic recovery Bermuda desperately needs. The principle on which we stand is the right one. We will not commit to any course that takes away the rights of Bermuda’s workers and so I must say again, the law will not be amended and we are firm in that position.

Thank you.

Minister Hayward’s remarks:

The process of amending the labour legislation began with ensuring we put laws in place that support the rights of workers.

This action to create maximum disruption in order to force compliance from the Government, is unlawful and designed to negatively impact the people of Bermuda.

Such tactics should never be used to promote a position aimed at stripping rights away from workers.

The Government acknowledges that there is fear from the Unions that some employers will try to manipulate the process of cancellation of certificate for their benefit.

The Government will make every effort to ensure that employers’ intervention in the process is limited, and will nullify the process if an employer has had any involvement.

The Government will not be amending the law as it pertains to who gets to participate in a Government administered decertification ballot.

The Government’s position has been made clear, any worker who has regular contributions deducted from their pay should have the right to vote in a ballot whether they are a union member or non-member.

It bears repeating that only current members or former members of a Union can comprise the 35% of the workforce that can actually initiate a decertification ballot.

This is a protection for the Union.

Contrary to what has been articulated, the Government has met with the BIU on several occasions since the legislation was debated and approved by the legislature in the House of Assembly in December.

Up until the BIU’s most recent set of press conferences there has been no communication of collaboration or compromise in the BIU’s position.
As a former leader of a trade union, I have always and will continue to support the principle aims of Unionism and the promotion of workers’ rights.

That position is clearly demonstrated by the work that has been done in the Ministry of Labour since I assumed the Office of Minister.

Any notion that the Government no longer supports labour or the workers of this country lacks merit.

However, the approach to industrial relations needs to shift, a concerted effort is required to change the current culture of operating.

It will not be easy, however, a shift in paradigm is critical for us to get the Country back on a sustainable recovery path.

As it pertains to my position as Minister of Labour, I have no intention to resign, there is plenty of work to be done and I am committed to working on behalf of the People of Bermuda. I thank all those in the Public who have sent me messages of support and words of encouragement.

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Comments (6)

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  1. watching says:

    The BIU has clearly used this issue to make personal attacks at Premier Burt and Minister Hayward at the expense of their membership.
    It is most unfortunate.
    Do they really believe that even if the Premier and Minister Hayward were to resign that their successors would amend the legislation they are questioning? Or are they in cahoots with internal PLP members to oust the leadership simply to supplant them with others and this issue is meant to stir things up?

    • wahoo says:

      Whatever is happening greed is is at the heart of it. Sadly we will all lose something here.

  2. Jus' Askin' says:

    if you all are so sure about this decision…call a snap election ;-) ;-)

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “call a snap election”

      For what purpose? There is no viable opposition. We just spent several million dollars on an unnecessary election. Why should we repeat that mistake?

      • Ringmaster says:

        What would a snap election achieve? It’s in Bermuda’s interest to have the PLP in power. As long as they stand strong, as a Party elected by the majority of the voting population versus a union leader representing a handful of workers, Bermuda will come out stronger. If only the law was applied to todays events, as the failure to do so will only fuel more such demonstrations. Time to show who is charge of Bermuda, and it should not be the BIU.

  3. Union buster says:

    This is a way for the government to union bust! PERIOD!

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