Members of Bermuda’s unions are invited to wear red and bring placards to join the Bermuda Trade Union Congress (BTUC) later today, in recognition of International Workers’ Day.

The theme this year is ‘Affordable and Accessible Healthcare in Bermuda For All”. 

Affiliate members and members of the public were urged to bring placards highlighting their healthcare-related concerns and/or ideas for healthcare reform, in recognition of International Workers’ Day.

The BTUC  joins global fraternal Unions and the rest of the world on May 1, International Workers’ Day, “to remember the struggles and celebrate the contributions that workers have made in the fight for universal rights, privileges and the rule of law”.

As a “sign of solidarity”, the Bermuda Public Services Union (BPSU) Executive and General Council called on members to join the BTUC rally and march, starting from Victoria Park at 12 noon today.

A spokesperson said: “Your voice matters, ensure that you are heard.”

In the lead up to today’s march, BTUC and BPSU President, Senator Jason Hayward said the theme recognises that the “cost of  Bermuda’s healthcare is alarming to all workers and their families”.

This year’s theme was selected “as a means to implore all stakeholders to commit to finding solutions to Bermuda’s healthcare crisis”.

“To that end, the BTUC is calling on all affiliate union members and citizens of Bermuda to join the BTUC at a rally and march on May 1starting from Victoria Park at 12pm.”

As noted in The Bermuda Health Strategy Report 2014, he said: “It is undisputable that  Bermuda’s health system is overly-strained and  failing Bermuda’s residents .

“This is evident as all residents do not have access to basic health insurance coverage and healthcare contributions are not affordable.”

BTUC & BPSU President, Senator Jason Hayward

Additionally, he said: “The long-term healthcare needs of our seniors are not being met. At the core of this issue, healthcare provider fees are largely unregulated and overutilised, seemly placing profit over people.

“Many senior citizens are finding it extremely challenging to cope as a large portion of their pensions are earmarked to pay for prescription drugs, diagnostic tests and other associated healthcare costs.

“This financial burden depletes their limited disposable income leaving seniors with limited resources for other basic necessities,” said Senator Hayward.

Based on Bermuda’s 2017 National Health Accounts Report, he reiterated that “Bermuda’s per capita health expenditure stands at $11,362, out-ranking all other OECD countries.

“Investigations continue to reveal that many Bermudians are electing to go without healthcare insurance coverage because it is simply unaffordable.

“Further exacerbating this precarious problem, there is an increasing number of employers who are offering workers vendor contracts in order to avoid having to pay benefits especially the mandatory health insurance premiums,” he added.

As a result, the BTUC is advocating for an improved healthcare system that is sustainable to ensure that:

  • all residents have access to basic health insurance coverage;
  • healthcare coverage contributions are affordable; and
  • all residents have access to healthcare services