TUESDAY, JANUARY 8: The Bermuda Employers’ Council is very concerned that so soon into the New Year and after a General Election, there developed a strike on the Docks.  The negotiations over changes to the collective agreement, as it relates to working hours and unproductive time,  have gone on for over a year and both sides have to respect that the dispute has been referred to arbitration.   Union members on the Docks have worked under essential services legislation since 1975. They and the Union should respect the law, uphold their agreements, work accordingly and not go on what is essentially an illegal strike when there other accepted and proven ways of solving disputes.  Any strike action affects medical supplies, essential goods and potentially pushes any economic recovery further away.

 Layoffs have been part of Management Rights for 70 years under the Docks collective agreement.  Unfortunately, layoffs have become increasingly common in Bermuda ; but this is the first year the Dock workers have been affected. In the current collective agreement certain Management decisions may be challenged by the Union as unfair; and whether management has the right to lay off staff at this time can be dealt with without resorting to a strike. The entire labour relations dispute can be dealt with under the existing law with mutual respect and goodwill and certainly without industrial strife. 

 We commented once before…”Having different positions or conflicting ideas in industrial relations is not an issue, it is how we as a country choose to resolve them will determine our future and our world-wide reputation….Industrial strife jeopardizes the well-being of all Bermudians by affecting our reputation to attract investment and reinvestment in hotels and tourism and makes a mockery out of efforts to show that Bermuda is a good place to business.”