Labor Minister Sets Record Straight on Union Bill

The President of the Bermuda Industrial Union Chris Furbert recently stated that when the now-defunct United Bermuda Party (UBP) brought the Trade Unions and Labor Relations Consolidation Act to the table back 1998, the then-opposition Progressive Labor Party (PLP) opposed the bill.

Over twenty years later, it appears that the PLP is in support of the very bill that they were initially against.

TNN’s Trevor Lindsay spoke with the Minister of Labor the Honorable Jason Hayward, who set the record straight on the bill. According to Minister Hayward, the bill came into force in 2000, after the PLP were elected.

“The PLP has maintained a consistent position on that bill since 2000,” he said. “We believe that all workers within the bargaining unit who have weekly or monthly deductions coming out of their salary should have the right to participate in a government administrative workplace ballot. The BIU has a different opinion on that; they want to make sure that the ballot is constrained to union members only.”

Minister Hayward, a former union leader, does not believe that the BIU’s position on this issue is a sound one and thinks that the BIU are trying to force the government to remove rights from workers.

“ My position is that workers should be afforded rights within the workplace and we will continue to afford workers those rights within their workplace,” Minister Hayward said. “ The union is using the tools in their toolkit, but it is important for the government to stand on its principled position.”

Industrial action has been taken and the government and the union are currently at an impasse, but there has been no further dialogue as of yet between the two parties. However, the Minister believes that reason will ultimately prevail.

“ At some point, individuals will come to the understanding that the government’s position is reasonable, fair and sound; we have received legal advice which supports our position as well,” he said.

Minister Hayward would like to remind the public that the BIU, and all unions in Bermuda, remain quite strong, so the activity that he and the PLP are engaged in are anything but union busting activity.
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