According to Bermuda Industrial Union President Chris Furbert, the main difference between the PLP and the Union’s stance on the decertification issue, the reason why hundreds of non-essential Union workers and supporters marched through Hamilton this morning, is that the Government believes that Union decertification should happen the same way certification did; with everyone, even non-union members, being able to vote on it.
“ The BIU is contending that, even though everyone was able to vote in a battle to certificate, in a battle for decertification, non-union members should not be allowed to vote,” Mr. Furbert explained during a press conference. “ The Labor Minister contends that whatever happens at the certification process will happen [during] decertification.”
Mr. Furbert explained this position many times to both Minister Hayward and the Honorable Premier David Burt.
“ . . . [The BIU] are allowing workers in our bargaining unit who contribute 100 percent to have a right to vote on decertification. We also said that those members who contribute [only] 50 percent will not have that right,” he said.
Mr. Furbert believes Minister Hayward’s actions are the actions of someone who is trying to control labor and that if the PLP does not and cannot fix their issues internally, then the people of Bermuda will have to fix it for them; just like how they voted the OBA out of power in 2017 for not listening to the people.
“ Just like how we voted the OBA out of power, we should vote [ the PLP] out of power; or exchange the MPs that we have with ones that will listen to the people,” he said.
The BIU was told by both a Supreme Court Justice and Deputy Premier Walter Roban that the current dispute is not labor-related. The Union now accepts that fact. As a result, their policies for industrial action will change.
“ The 21-day notice of industrial action is now taken off the table [considering it is no longer a labor issue], Mr. Furbert said.
“ Therefore, we do not have to give our employers any notice. We are inviting all members [essential and non-essential] who are interested to come out and protest with us tomorrow. We have been trying to be very reasonable with the Government, but if they are just going to stay where they are, that is going to get them into enough trouble . . .
The PLP cannot afford to have 20 percent of labor not support them in a general election.”
It makes Mr. Furbert’s–and the entire BIU’s–blood boil knowing that the island got into the position that it is currently in by having a labor government go against the best interests of labor.
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