For the first time since it was established in Bermuda more than a century ago, staff employed by the Salvation Army have voted in favour of being unionised under the Bermuda Public Services Union (BPSU).

In a Bermuda Real interview with BPSU President Jason Hayward, and General Secretary Ed Ball, the union executives noted that certain service workers employed by the organisation in Canada have been unionised for quite some time. But it was 120 years before the local branch joined the rank and file membership of the BPSU.

“This shows that no matter what organisation you work in the employees have rights,” said Mr Ball. “Workers will seek union representation when they feel that their employer is not treating them fairly,” he added.

Mr Hayward noted that the BPSU has had a number of new certifications over the last three years, including Clarien Bank, and BAS Serco CCTV employees. But he said two ballot certification votes for the BPSU to represent middle management at Clarien Bank and the Bermuda Tourism Authority were lost.

Either way he said in all, with the Salvation Army employees who voted in favour of unionisation last month, the BPSU has signed on about 100 new members.

When contacted by Bermuda Real, Divisional Commander Major Frank Pittman initially said he would prefer not to comment because “it’s an internal matter”.

But he said: “We now have to take a look at it and see the way forward as we work through this internally.”

Meanwhile, Mr Hayward said talks are set to begin with management within the next few weeks to begin the process of establishing a new collective bargaining agreement for Salvation Army Bermuda.

By Ceola Wilson