THURSDAY, DEC. 22: The row between KFC and the Bermuda Industrial Union is set to go to arbitration after the parties have yet to reach an agreement.

On Tuesday, BIU members picketed the fast food restaurant after management reportedly announced it was scrapping the collective bargaining agreement.

At the time, BIU president Chris Furbert said the move would mean slashed holiday entitlement and cuts to the amount of paid sickness leave.

But that was incorrect.

Today, Mr Furbert held a press conference and said he had received a memo from KFC but it was incomplete.

“They were concerned that the BIU made a statement that they were concerned about,” Mr Furbert said.

“We now have a full copy of that document so we apologise for that.

“Number four on the memo says there will be no impact on the existing vacation arrangements.”

Yesterday, KFC issued a statement saying they were willing to negotiate with a new contract with employees, but concessions need to be made if they are to remain in business.

KFC director Jason Benevides said on Wednesday that KFC notified the BIU on February 1 that it intended to modify the terms of the existing collective agreement which was due to expire on April 15.

In the press conference, Mr Furbert said KFC has received legal advice saying they can terminate the collective agreement.

But Mr Furbert said that isn’t true.

‘The workers remain adamant that they want the BIU to represent them and they won’t stand for KFC changing the agreement.”

As for what is next, Mr Furbert said: “I hope they will come back to the table and reinstate the agreement to do what we have to do.

“As far as we are concerned, it looks set to go to arbitration.

“My understanding is that we sit down and negotiate and if we can’t agree, we go to a third party.

“Sometimes we get what we want and sometimes we don’t.”

Speaking on the union getting negative views from the public, Mr Furbert said: “To be fair to the public, I would have to think that what the BIU’s position of this matter doesn’t just benefit BIU members, it benefits the country.

“If you go back to the 1950s, we had no maternity leave, no sick days and no vacation.

“The BIU had to fight for those benefits and the public has benefitted.”

Mr Furbert said the union is willing to work with employers to reach agreements.