After meeting on Wednesday August 25, writing to the Progressive Labour Party and meeting again on Friday August 27, the Bermuda Industrial Union’s (BIU’s) general council is asking all non-essential Union workers to report to Union Square at 8 a.m., rather than going to their workplaces, on Monday August 30 and Tuesday August 31, to participate in a two-day protest.
“ All areas of the BIU which are deemed essential, such as hospital workers, certain Marine & Ports workers, certain dock workers and trash collectors, will be working during those two days,” BIU President Chris Furbert said during a press conference this morning.
For those union areas that are deemed essential, there will be a 21-day notice of industrial action on Monday, as required by law.
“ Our general council is further suggesting that any of our sister unions willing to support us during this two-day shutdown can assist us in any way that they are able to, ” Mr. Furbert said.
The Union is also inviting any members of the general public to show their support for them as well. Anyone who comes out over those two days, however, will be required to wear a mask.
According to Mr. Furbert, the PLP has said that they are not planning to change Section 57 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act of 2021 because it may violate some Union members’ constitutional rights. However, the BIU has not yet seen the legal opinion on exactly how that would be done.
“ [The BIU] do not think that we are being unreasonable [with the issue of decertification,] ” Mr. Furbert said. “ We think that we have a fair and reasonable request put on the table which will allow both parties involved to have a win-win scenario.”
He believes that the Government is trying very hard to be fair and reasonable to the unorganized, but does not see how they are helping organized groups, such as the BIU, especially as a party that is supposed to support labour.
Mr. Furbert views the Bermuda Public Service Union, the second-largest union on the island, refusing to join the BIU in their protest on Monday and Tuesday as simply a case of history repeating itself.
“ Back in 1981 [during the general strike], when there were different Union organizers, the BPSU was the last Union to support us and they only came out during the 11th hour,” he said.
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