Tuesday’s meeting of Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) workers raised concerns regarding a believed recent Government proposed wage increase for blue collar members of the public services sector.
An attendee, during the meeting, spoke to the inadequacy of what he revealed as a suggested 2.25% advance in pay, to be distributed in percentage increments over a prescribed period.
The man, a government worker from Somerset, described the proposal as not being sufficient to counteract the curent rate of inflation, which he pegged at being around 7%, even as an October Consumer Price Index report released by Government’s Department of Statistics stated the annual rate of inflation as a mere 3.8%, a figure disputed by many struggling to make ends meet.
“Why is it that now, when it’s crunch time and this government can’t get us out of a recession, you’re coming back to us — and I’m happy to be getting some slice of the bread with inflation at 7% and we’re to get intervals of 2.25%,” said the man, directing his words toward BIU president Chris Furbert. “I commend you guys. I applaud you. But do you know what’s going to happen in three months or six months from right now.
“Where’ our protection from the insurance companies? Who’s coming to protect us, when they’re coming for that.
“And then we see other things in our GP and groceries and other things that are going to deprive us … (like) union dues.”
The member went on to question the union’s effectiveness in being able to keep workers in jobs, while also ensuring that they are remunerated in line with normal living costs.
“So, where are we being protected?,” he continued. “Because you give us and then you take back.
“You want me to hit the goal like Pele, but you keep moving the posts. And then you don’t want be doing nothing illegal.
“I could go on a lot and I’m hitting you guys with some things Brother Chris, but I’m not going to be going at odds with somebody that’s supposed to have the best interest at heart for everybody here.
“If you sleep comfortable nights, knowing what you stand for and the organisation has been built off of, then I can close my eyes comfortable as well.
“But these elderly that’s in this room, that sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears. That don’t have a voice. That are quiet and silent and suffering. These are the people you should be focussing on.
“Because I actually want to stay in government and retire, but I’m not looking forward to watching the way you’re treating these lot right here.
“I’m not looking forward to that at all.”
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