On Friday, 13 May, the Premier, the Hon. E. David Burt and the Minister of Economy and Labour the Hon. Jason Hayward met with the President of the Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) Chris Furbert, JP and General Secretary Helena “Molly” Burgess, JP and First Vice President Eugene Ball.
The meeting was held to discuss ongoing labour matters, including how conditions can be improved for Bermuda’s workers. The parties discussed the differences of opinion on section 57 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidated) Act 2021 and agreed that the dispute should have been handled better.
At the conclusion of the meeting, both the Government and BIU expressed a commitment to work together and apologized for the way in which the dispute was handled. The parties agreed on a plan to move forward and committed to continuing to work together in support of Bermuda’s workers and to advance Bermuda’s Economic Recovery Plan. The Minister of Economy and Labour also committed to meeting with the BIU leadership quarterly to discuss labour matters and issues concerning Bermuda’s workers.
Premier David Burt said: “This Government is proud of the work that it has done in support of Bermuda’s workers, including strengthening protections for employees against bullying and harassment, extending paid maternity and paternity leave, and increasing protection for workers during the probation period.
“Additionally, we have worked to strengthen Unions and workers’ rights. All of this could not have been done without vital collaboration with our union partners including the Bermuda Industrial Union, and that is why this meeting was important to discuss and address any hindrances to what has always been a respectful and productive relationship between this labour Government and the BIU.
“We have agreed on a plan to move forward, and have committed to continuing to work together to improve conditions for workers in this country, and to advance Bermuda’s Economic Recovery Plan to ensure a brighter future.
“I thank the President, General Secretary and the Vice President for their time and the work that they and their organisation do. And, I look forward to the Government and BIU continuing to work collaboratively on behalf of the workers in Bermuda.”
Minister Hayward said: “The labour movement is most effective when labour unions and labour governments work together. The Government remains committed to advancing the rights and quality of life of workers in Bermuda and our unions are critical stakeholders in that process. Our collective desire to create a better Bermuda for all should and must always transcend any conflicts we may encounter.”
President of the BIU Chris Furbert said: “It was important that the BIU and the Government met to discuss how we can move forward, to acknowledge collectively that the issues around the legislation could have been handled better by all, and to reaffirm our commitment to continuing the work to improve conditions for the workers of Bermuda together.
“I am grateful to the Premier and Minister Hayward for their time, and for the Minister’s commitment to meet with us on a quarterly basis to discuss important labour matters so that we can continue to advance worker’s right and ensure they have the quality of life they deserve.”
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