Minister: No Intention To Amend The Legislation

August 25, 2021 | 15 Comments

The Government “continues to operate through the principles of reasonableness and fairness, taking into account the interest of all workers” and “has no intention to amend the legislation,” Minister of Labour Jason Hayward said today.

The legislation has been criticized by the BIU, with BIU President Chris Furbert sending the Government a letter saying that if they refuse to “make the necessary amendments” to the legislation they will be “calling on its membership for a two day shutdown” which will take effect August 30.

Minister Hayward said, “I take this opportunity to reiterate the Government of Bermuda’s position regarding the decertification procedure according to the Trade Union and Labour Relations [Consolidation] Act 2021 ["the Act"].

“The Act has brought about significant changes to the administration of labour and union-related matters within Bermuda, the majority of which specifically benefit the Unions and their membership.

“However, one aspect, which has been in operation for the past two decades and which was not amended by the current legislation, is the composition of those who may vote to cancel a trade union’s certification.

Legislation Compared:

Trade Union Act 1965 [Old Legislation]

Cancellation of Certification

“Section 30P [1] reads: A worker in a bargaining unit [“the existing unit”] may, at any time after the expiration of one year after a union has been certified in respect of that unit, make application in writing to the Manager for the cancellation of the certification on the ground that 35 per cent or more of the workers in that unit no longer support the union.

“Section 30P [6] reads: If on such a ballot it is shown that more than 50 per cent of the workers voting in the ballot do not support the union, the Manager shall cancel the certification of the union; and, subject to subsection [7], the union shall cease to be the exclusive bargaining agent in respect of that unit in accordance with the order.

Trade Union and Labour Relations [Consolidation] Act [TULR Act] 2021 [New Legislation]

Cancellation of Certification

“Section 57 [1] reads: A worker in a bargaining unit [“the existing unit”] may, at any time after the expiration of one year after a union has been certified in respect of that unit, make application in writing to the Manager for the cancellation of the certification on the ground that 35% or more of the workers in that unit no longer support the union as the exclusive bargaining agent for that unit.

“Section 57 [6] reads: If on such a ballot it is shown that more than 50% of the workers voting in the ballot do not support the union as their exclusive bargaining agent, the Manager shall cancel the certification of the union; and, subject to section 58[1], the union shall cease to be the exclusive bargaining agent in respect of that unit.

“Any worker within an Agency Shop has the right to participate in a cancellation of certification ballot, whether he is a member of a trade union or not, as he has equal contributions regularly deducted from his wages.

“Workers who are not part of an Agency Shop and are not members of a trade union will not be considered a part of the appropriate bargaining unit eligible to vote in a cancellation of certification ballot.

“The provisions of the repealed Trade Union Act 1965 remain the same in the Trade Union and Labour Relations [Consolidation] Act 2021. These provisions do not negatively affect unions’ position or their composition of bargaining units, as the practice under the repealed Trade Union Act 1965 was for agency shop members to participate in a cancellation of certification ballot.

“The Act has been the most pro-Union legislation passed of any administration in Bermuda. The Government of Bermuda continues to operate through the principles of reasonableness and fairness, taking into account the interest of all workers; however, the Government has no intention to amend the legislation.”

A document provided by the Ministry on the Cancellation Of Certification Issue follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (15)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “The Government “continues to operate through the principles of reasonableness and fairness, taking into account the interest of all workers” and “has no intention to amend the legislation,” Minister of Labour Jason Hayward said today.”

    Wow, that must have taken a lot of effort for Jason Hayward to say!

  2. Ronda says:

    The proposal that the BIU is asking the government to implement, is akin to saying only those who voted for the PLP in the last election should be eligible to vote in the next election.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Oh, it’s better than that. It is more like “one-half of all taxes levied must be donated to the Union and only union members can vote to change this law”.

      • trufth says:

        Spot on! That’s exactly how it is which makes me wonder “what the helll is Furbert afraid of?” Seriously, is there a risk that the union will be voted out if everyone is allowed their vote?

        That’s a real question btw – anyone have an answer?

        • Joe Bloggs says:

          The issue is money. Under the new law everyone who works in a union shop must pay at least 1/2 dues to the union. Chris is afraid of losing that income.

  3. Ringmaster says:

    Why is there an issue? If the Union is doing a good job for their members why would they vote for decertification? Sounds like the issue is not decertification, and Bro Furbert may be in for a fall when he has little support for his strike call.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      The issue is money. Under the new law everyone who works in a union shop must pay at least 1/2 dues to the union. Those who do not want to join the union can only donate 1/2 of their dues to charity, the union gets full dues from all union members and 1/2 dues from non-union members. The BIU does not want to lose those dues from those people who opt out of being a union member

  4. Jus' Askin' says:

    can’t vait til monday ;-)

    this is what happens when a person didn’t have to work for their seat :-(

  5. JAWS says:

    He just made himself the King of FLIPFLOPs.

  6. Power in numbers says:

    BIU members I hope you see what your true worth is now. It is universally stated that “no good deed goes unpunished”. You where useful for creating parliamentary barricades and your vote but now you are just surplus. Take heed and realize you have to unify. Unify all of the local unions to create a Trade Union Congress. If you didn’t get the formula right the first time, grow from the experience and get it right now. You are all stronger in numbers. An attack on one union is an attack on all. It’s only a matter of time before your sister unions are targeted. Look at history, it is the best teacher. United you stand and divided you will fall. The rules of divide and conquer is still valid today.

    Union leaders please look to the future and start to roll out your next batch of leadership. If you don’t have them, recruit or create them. You cannot wait until you are knocking on the door of retirements before you start to plan. I trust that your opposition is anticipating that you are not thinking this far ahead. A wise person once said “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Without good representation we are all just pawns in this game. Unions where and still are the backbone of this country. The hard working people of this country need and deserve good representation. If you believe they have lost their way, please don’t lose yours.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      I will not argue with what you say about unions, but you have missed the point that this dispute is not about the workers, it is about a power struggle within the PLP.

      Our Premier said that “this has very little to do with the legislation and far more to do with internal politics of the Bermuda Progressive Labour Party.” See https://bernews.com/2021/08/premier-david-burt-responds-biu/

      Indeed, the decertification clause the Chris Furbert now cannot bear has been in place for over 30 years and was originally passed by a PLP Government. What does that tell you?

  7. Phillip says:

    This situation will turn very ugly soon if it’s not resolved. Just wondering what happens after the two day strike if this is not resolved….will there be more strikes?

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “This situation will turn very ugly soon if it’s not resolved”

      By “resolved” I am guessing you mean that the Government give in and force people to pay money the union but do not give those people any say in what the union does with their money.

      Why not take the popular vote away from everyone who is not a PLP member while we are at it?

  8. United we stand says:

    Unions, I hope you see what your true worth is now to this labor government. No good deed goes unpunished. You where useful for creating parliamentary barricades and your vote but now you are surplus. Take heed, you have to unify. Think about unifying all of the local unions to create a Trade Union Congress. United you stand, divided you will fall. Look at history as the best teacher. An attack on one union is an attack on all unions. The hard working people of this country need and deserve good representation. If you believe they have lost their way, please don’t lose yours.

  9. trufth says:

    Sadly, the govt will fold like a cheap lawn chair at the last minute.

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