The Department of Public Transportation (DPT) may be in for another showdown with the island’s unionised bus operators on Monday morning.

This after an urgent meeting called for the Bermuda Industrial Union’s entire membership was held on Friday night at BIU headquarters, where the Bus Division “agreed to withdraw labour unless the Department of Public Transportation posted the winter rosters”.

Members were informed by the union that the issue came to a head when management at the DPT “decided that THEY will post the summer rosters for picking starting Monday, August 16th”.

They were also told that the union’s Executive Team met with DPT Director Roger Todd and his management team, and the Permanent Secretary for the Transport Ministry.

The message forwarded by the union to its membership after that meeting said the two sides had “reached an impasse”.

“They were told that the membership is not interested at this time in new rosters. It was suggested that they can continue to put together the new proposed rosters and in the meantime post the winter work.

“We have reached an impasse on this and therefore the PS and her team were told in no uncertain terms that the winter rosters ‘MUST’ be posted by Monday for the picking otherwise the membership will report to work and stand down.”

On Saturday (Aug 14) a BIU spokeswoman said the Bus Division had agreed to withdraw labour unless the Department of Public Transportation posted the winter rosters.

“There is a collective bargaining agreement between the Bermuda Government that also affects public transportation.

“However, the Minister of Transport and the management team of the DPT have decided that they are going to completely ignore the sections of the CBA without the agreement of the bus division,” she said.

“The members put forward a motion ‘that management must post the winter rosters for pick on Monday, August 16, 2021 and failing to do so will result in the membership to stand down the service until such time that they do so.” 

She also apologised on behalf of the division “in advance to the public for any inconvenience that this may cause”.

Bermuda Real also obtained a copy of the memo sent out by DPT Director Roger Todd to all DPT employees, dated August 10 on the Fall 2021 Rosters, that was copied to BIU President Chris Furbert, BPSU President Armell Thomas and others.

That memo stated: “The end of summer ‘pick of work’ will commence on Monday, August 16th in accordance with Schedule 10 of the CBA, and in preparation for the start of school on September 9th. As communicated in the July 9th staff meetings, the DPT will focus all internal resources, buses and operators, on the Public Bus Schedule only. The department will contract with the minibus associations for delivery of the School Bus Schedule.

“The Fall 2021 Roster pick will be based on the existing summer roster book. A review of the summer rosters is also underway and any improvements to the current rosters will incorporated in a later pick of work.

“Remaining in the Summer Rosters is a temporary measure to ensure reliable Public Bus and School Bus services, without daily cancellations. It provides a sustainable scheduling process for dispatch with greater flexibility to accommodate Operator leave requests.

“We look forward to taking delivery of 30 new electric buses in January 2022, and the continued onboarding of new Bus Operators.

“Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Posting of the Fall 2021 Roster Pick will follow.”

Time will tell come Monday morning which way this dispute is going to go or not go.

We’ll keep you posted.