FRIDAY, JUNE 24: An upped pay offer of $17 a week and a ban on overtime pay has been accepted by Government blue-collar workers.

Chris Furbert, Bermuda Industrial Union president, said negotiators had offered an extra dollar on $16, but turned down the union’s bid to make overtime straight time, payroll tax-free.

The BIU originally asked for an $18 increase, but accepted the lower offer in return for an overtime freeze of six months only.

Mr Furbert said yesterday: “Overtime for straight time is a sacrifice, but our members have made that sacrifice on behalf of the country.

“But I’d like to think that the Government has basically taken care of its workers. They’ve done everything possible to avoid redundancies and they deserve credit for that.”

The deal means $17 a week on the average weekly wage of $1,031 – an increase of 1.65 per cent – for the 1,200 BIU members employed by Government.

It was accepted by a near-unanimous vote by members at a mass meeting in Hamilton. The deal ends months of wrangling.

The freeze on overtime payments starts on July 4 until the end of the year.

Public holiday overtime pay will continue to be paid at the appropriate rate.