Another set of Bermudian job losses at Belco saw workers down tools at the utility company this morning, with word that the Minister of Home Affairs, Walton Brown will hold an emergency meeting to discuss concerns held by the Electrical Supply Trade Union (ESTU).
At last check, the union’s members have vowed to stay off the job until their concerns are addressed by the “Labour” government.
More than 100 workers were still gathered outside the company’s Human Resources department, with word that the union’s head, Donald Lottimore has advised workers to move to the headquarters of the Bermuda Industrial Union where further talks will be held.
The industrial action comes the day after the company announced that four Bermudian executives had left Belco’s parent company Ascendant Group.
This is the latest in an ongoing dispute over Bermudians losing jobs, including non-unionised staff.
In a statement released by the Minister today, Mr Brown said: “I wish to express my grave concern over these developments, especially as I believe that most, if not all, of the staff ‘departures’ were Bermudian.
“While it is the right of any private company to manage its resources and staff as it sees fit, it is disappointing that a company such as Belco, under the Ascendant Group, who has had such a longstanding history of investing in Bermuda, have chosen to act in this way.
“Just as they have invested in Bermuda, Bermudians have invested in them — particularly as it relates to the staff members who work there.
“The issue of these developments does not just involve the Ministry of Home Affairs, it involves other ministries as well.
“As a result, I will be meeting with my colleagues immediately to determine what can be done to ensure that there are adequate safeguards in place for the Bermudian staff at that company and that there is a level of stability there.”
Meanwhile, members of The Ascendant Group’s executive met with the ESTU executive yesterday.
Company President and CEO Sean Durfy said: “We have every intention to continue to work with the ESTU to navigate our way forward. My door is always open and I welcome further discussions.”
The company announced the departure of the four executives in a statement yesterday. This after another three employees were made redundant last month.
The company announced that Denton Williams, Chief Operating Officer, and Zehena Davis, Vice President of Human Resources had resigned.
It was also stated that Michael Daniel, Ascendant’s Chief Strategic Development Officer, and Carol Ross-DeSilva, Vice President, Organisational Excellence, were made redundant.
This latest round of industrial action follows the protest three weeks ago, when workers gathered outside the building to protest when three marketing and communications staff were made redundant at Ascendant.
The jobs were outsourced to Cosmic, a Bermudian design and marketing firm.
The ESTU is scheduled to meet with management and government officials at 2:30pm this afternoon.
We’ll keep you posted as the day develops.
He told reporters: “We have a meeting with our brothers and sisters of the Trade Union Congress at 11 o’clock.