Video: Minister Lawrence Scott Press Conference

September 27, 2021 | 9 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Transport Lawrence Scott is holding a press conference this afternoon [Sept 27], and we will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 21-minute replay is below

Update 4.50pm: Minister Scott’s remarks:

Yesterday, I issued a statement confirming that the Government would utilise minibuses’ services to cover the core bus routes. We implemented this contingency plan to help our residents who have been burden with having to find transportation.

This Government has a long history of support for the labour movement in Bermuda. The support of the Bermudian workforce and recognition of the fundamental rights of all workers has not changed. However, as Government, we must act to deliver expected public services. The Government has drafted, introduced and passed laws that protect labour rights, its workers and the movement.

Today, we remain committed to working on resolving the current impasse.

Over the last few days, you have heard me say several times that on September 21st, the DPT management updated the Labour Department that the original safety and health concerns raised by the BIU Bus Division had been resolved.

Subsequently, DPT was then informed that the BIU members would continue to withhold their labour, citing that they needed to be paid for the entire time they were out.

The BIU Bus Division President remained adamant that his request to his Co-Chair counterpart for the DPT Safety and Health Committee was not actioned. I believe it would be helpful to note that at no time did he require her approval to arrange the meeting. To be clear, as a Co-Chair himself, he has the power to call a meeting.

DPT informed Labour Relations on Tuesday of last week that safety and health issues had been resolved. Management addressed the workers concerns by sharing the current cleaning policy.

The policy is that buses are cleaned when they sit for more than 20 minutes at any bus depot. Contracted cleaning staff come daily from 4:30 pm to midnight and comprehensively clean out every bus. This is done seven days a week. They also have an electrostatic sprayer. Additionally, the administrative offices are cleaned by an outside cleaning company. All the offices, hallways, stairwells, drivers’ restrooms, bathrooms, shower stalls, kitchens, etc., are cleaned each evening. This has been the practice for years, all in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s guidelines. In fact, the DPT’s cleaning goes beyond what is required by the Ministry of Health.

Additionally, the BIU Bus Division cited sections 7A and 7C of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1982 for their actions.

It would be remiss of me not to highlight section 7B of the Act, which speaks explicitly to the procedure to be followed. If BIU had followed the process, they should have remained available for work until the outcome of any investigation of their concerns. If the investigation found that their actions were warranted, they would have been entitled to be paid.

There was never any legal reason that justified DPT workers failing to carry out their duties as employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1982 [or its Regulations] does not support the Bus Division’s position.

In this circumstance, the Government is entitled to deduct DPT employees’ pay pursuant to both the common law and section 8[3][c] of the Employment Act 2000. This means the Government is not required to pay the employees for any part of their time away from work. The Ministry stands by its policy of “no work, no pay”.

It must be appreciated that in filling its mandate to protect the interests of the people they represent, which is the general public, I activated the Ministry’s Emergency Transportation Plan.

Today minibuses will be driving the core bus routes, 1, 3, 7, 8, 10 and 11, from seven o’clock this morning until seven o’clock this evening, with all routes scheduled on the hour, every hour. The service is free to commuters.

The minibuses are operating by the Ministry of Health’s Guidance for Public Transportation. Therefore, commuters will already be familiar with the requirements for mask-wearing and hand sanitising.

The matter has been referred to the Employment and Labour Relations Tribunal for settlement. We anticipate that the bus service will return to the regularly scheduled service tomorrow.

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Comments (9)

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  1. trufth says:

    This is such a crock of horse chit! As usual, the BIU is working hard at finding a way not to have to work!

    Recall a few weeks ago, BIU started this under the guise of not liking the schedule. I quote “some of our members don’t get to spend time with their families….” This was about the summer vs winter schedule.

    That didn’t work out as they expected so fast forward a few days when they THEN claimed they weren’t going to work over the whole decertification issue.

    Clearly that didn’t work out as they expected either so fast forward a few more days and they decided to conveniently jump on the Delta variant band wagon and use that as an excuse not to work.

    WHICH IS IT?

  2. Ringmaster says:

    Maybe the PLP have at long last accepted that they are the Government for Bermuda, not just PLP voters. If they give in to the BIU regarding the pay then the threats and extortion will continue and Bermuda will be held hostage to the BIU again and again. Unions have their place, but this fight needs to have the BIU lose so Bermuda and the majority of Bermudians benefit.

  3. Dudley Bop says:

    Sorry Mate, Wrong answer! This is a horrific time period that we find ourselves. I am not a bus or ferry operator, but I WILL stand up for all of them. No one should be taking home any lack of money during this time.
    Do you not get it, or are you simple? Other countries give their citizens Stimulus checks, to the tune of hundreds to thousands of dollars from adults down to children because of this drastic Covid disease that has hit the world and it’s economies. WHAT HAS BERMUDA DONE FOR IT’S CITIZENS in all this Financial trouble? Nothing for most of it’s people! Very Shameful! WE ARE SUFFERING OUT HERE! It is DOG HARD Out here!!
    WHAT Do you Politicians think? You sure don’t think much of your citizens. It is plain to see.
    IF You don’t pay your employees , you are only hurting the economy for hundreds of families and shooting yourselves in the foot. Rethink your stance and pay your people. Banks , stores and other businesses close for a period of days with a Covid case. Do the same with pay for your Gov’t divisions. You Gov’t Politicians are belittling yourselves before the people- at-large that YOU SERVE . TAKE IT To HEART!!! If some people have to be disciplined for certain reasons, take care of them and leave the others alone. DO THE RIGHT THING!

    • Hum says:

      Unfortunately your tunnel vision sees you miss that many cannot earn money because the bus drivers are not working.

      Union should be paying the bus workers

      PLP has no money due to paying the interest on the enormous debt it incurred when they overheated the economy through excessive borrowing to finance non income generating infrastructure spending.

      People are suffering because other people made selfish choices, no they should not be rewarded for making others suffer.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “Do you not get it, or are you simple? Other countries give their citizens Stimulus checks, to the tune of hundreds to thousands of dollars from adults down to children because of this drastic Covid disease that has hit the world and it’s economies.”

      That may or may not be true, but I am guessing that those “other countries” to which you refer have their own currency and are not in debt to the tune of $47,500 for every man, woman and child in the country. If you want to only count Bermudian adults, double that number to $95,000 per voter. If you want to include the unfunded liabilities that we never talk about, double our debt per person again.

    • iyiyi says:

      They can get paid !! They just need to go back to work …. a days work for a days pay just like the rest of us !!! No work … no pay just like the rest of us !!

  4. Patricia says:

    Agree.

  5. Patricia says:

    It’s obvious u can’t c the forest for the trees.

  6. Joe Bloggs says:

    “”In this circumstance, the Government is entitled to deduct DPT employees’ pay pursuant to both the common law and section 8[3][c] of the Employment Act 2000. This means the Government is not required to pay the employees for any part of their time away from work. The Ministry stands by its policy of “no work, no pay””.

    Really? If unionised employees refuse to work without any legal reason the Government doesn’t have to pay them? When did the law change?

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