Industrial action delays Supreme and Magistrates court proceedings

A labour dispute involving Supreme Court and Magistrates Court staff erupted both outside and within the halls of the Dame Lois Browne-Evans (DLBE) building this morning (Wednesday), when workers refused to carry out their assigned duties, thus delaying the morning’s court proceedings.

The industrial action by the sector of government employees began with workers staging a ‘sit-out’, as they refused to enter the building, with the group later staging a ‘sit-in’, gathering between Court 1 and Court 4.

Employees were said to be fed up with several work-place conditions and operational “challenges” that government have failed to address for the past four years and have become untenable. These grievances include alleged poor management, nepotism, a general lack of communication between the court registrar and employees, no training programmes, the absence of forward planning and a failure to update job descriptions for various personnel.

Another item of pressing concern put forward was that of security, with the inadequacy of current methods being used further exposed during the course of the Osagi Bascome murder trials. An altercation on the steps of the Supreme Court located at Sessions House last Wednesday highlighted deficiencies, also the discovery of a knife found by security personnel on Friday in the Supreme Court just prior to the jury deliberations process.

A reliable source telling TNN that, as a result of the action taken by the court workers, the Bermuda Public Services Union (BPSU) has given Government one month to sort out the stated concerns.

It is further understood that increased security will shortly be added to that existing at the Dame Lois Browne-Evans building to screen all persons entering, while the decision has been made to have the Court Street edifice host all murder trials for safety reasons.

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