Seated left to right: consultant Martin Law, Mayor Charles Gosling, BPSU president Kevin Grant and BPSU general decretary Ed Ball, Jr. Standing left to right: Golinda Fox of BPSU, and Earl Francis and Danilee Trott of the City of Hamilton. <em>*Photo supplied</em>
Seated left to right: consultant Martin Law, Mayor Charles Gosling, BPSU president Kevin Grant and BPSU general decretary Ed Ball, Jr. Standing left to right: Golinda Fox of BPSU, and Earl Francis and Danilee Trott of the City of Hamilton. *Photo supplied

MONDAY, JANUARY 23: The City of Hamilton today announced it has signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement for its management group. Making the announcement was Hamilton Mayor Charles Gosling.

Mayor Gosling stated, “The negotiation for the management group at the City of Hamilton was a revolutionary Agreement for the City and indeed, Bermuda.

“It is not the norm for a management team, in the private sector or in a municipality, to have union representation. This is local government following in the footsteps of national Government, in recognizing the important role a union has in representing and protecting executive management and senior management staff while creating an environment that has a positive impact on morale, security, efficiencies and effectiveness within the workplace.”

Mayor Gosling added, “The negotiation process comprised five meetings, between November 30, 2011 and December 14, 2011. Both parties were fair, flexible and focused on a resolution; enabling negotiations to be concluded within two weeks, which must be a record for a maiden Agreement.

“The negotiations were intensive and highly productive. In order to survive economically we must do things differently. The old ways of negotiating and reaching agreements are no longer appropriate in our changing environment. Management and unions must work together, side by side, not necessarily think outside the box, as it is my belief the box has been moved somewhere else and collectively we waste too much time trying to replace its missing structure with collapsed dogma of prior years.

“This Agreement is a good example of recognizing change, determining our surroundings, setting an agreed upon course and moving forward together.”

Mayor Gosling asserted, “During my time in office and with the full support of the City’s Aldermen and Councillors, we have strived for good governance. Upon taking Office, one of the immediate actions we undertook was to completely separate the Board from the day-to-day operations, thus protecting staff from interference in their jobs. This, with other measures, is incorporated in the Members’ Code of Conduct that each Board Member signs when taking office.

“The City is proud of its Code of Conduct and was very pleased when the union agreed the management group would be guided by the same Code. The union also approved specific wording and reference from the Code that would be included in the Agreement. Similarly, our well-developed, up to date and progressive Employee Handbook was also embraced by the union and is referred to in large measure in the Agreement,” the Mayor commented.

“I acknowledge the hard work of BPSU Secretary General, Mr. Ed Ball, Jr. and his team, Labour Consultant, Mr. Martin Law, who represented the City of Hamilton together with Chief Operating Officer and Secretary, Mr. Edward Benevides.

“These men brought their extensive labour relations experience to the table and applied creative thinking and a willingness to quickly and fairly find a solution that would work for both sides. I am proud to have taken part in the signing,” Mayor Gosling concluded.

Mr. Ed Ball added, “We are extremely pleased with the Collective Bargaining Agreement that was put in place for the City of Hamilton management group.

“Seven Articles in the Agreement refer to the Employee Handbook which enhances the importance of the document for all employees. The City’s Code of Conduct has prominence in Article 1, which ensures the Code has a wider application and is known to a larger audience. The negotiations were truly a first for the City of Hamilton and the standard by which all our future negotiations will be measured.”

Mr. Kevin Grant, President of the Union concluded, “The BPSU is extremely familiar with representing workers at all management levels, as all workers should have the benefit of representation. In these economic times, we need to do things differently and welcome the opportunity to work closer with the City of Hamilton.”