29 August 2021

The following statement was released shortly after 6pm this evening by Acting Premier Walter Roban…

“The next two days will hurt those who can least afford it.” said Acting Premier Walter Roban, on the eve of a two day work stoppage called for by the leadership of the Bermuda Industrial Union. Families will be under more pressure, working women and men will have added stress and businesses will be faced with even more uncertainty. All of this at a time when we are doing our utmost to get people back to work, to move beyond the pandemic which has had a devastating impact on everyone’s finances and personal well-being.”

The Acting Premier continued: “I cannot understand how the Bermuda Industrial Union leadership is so determined to remove workplace rights from workers. The Government remains firm in its position, a principled position, that preserves rights for all workers, and has no intention to amend the legislation.

“The Union’s original position was that only Union members should be able to participate in workplace ballots, however that position appears to have shifted. Now, the Union supports non-members who pay 100% of their salary deductions to the union participating in a ballot.

“Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of all of this is the totally false assertion that the Government no longer supports labour and is out to destroy the Unions. The facts tell the story and the truth is that this Government has delivered for and continues to lift up working men and women every day in real and tangible ways:

•The new Labour Code that came into effect on June 1st, increases workers benefits and workplace protections, and yes it also strengthens Bermuda’s Unions and their ability to organize labour. 

 •Throughout the pandemic the Government has supported workers by providing over $70 million in unemployment benefits to help individuals meet their basic needs of food, housing and medical care. 

•It also cannot be forgotten that the Government paid over $10 million to ensure redundant Fairmont Southampton Princess workers received redundancy payments.

•Through the Department of Workforce Development, the Government continues to service unemployed workers, has increased on the job- training and apprentice opportunities, and continues to partner with industry to get Bermudians back to work. 

•Additionally, the Government has expanded the list of closed job categories to create workplace opportunities for Bermudian workers.

“Despite the work that has been done thus far, there is still much more that needs to done. The Government will continue to support the workers of Bermuda and will be unwavering in our commitment to improving the Bermudian economy.”