The Government Quarry facility. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
The Government Quarry facility. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

Labour Minister Michael Fahy said the Government Quarry problem with the BIU workers has been sent to the Labour Disputes Tribunal. 
He said: "After meeting with both parties, the Minister has determined pursuant to Section 4 of the Labour Disputes Act 1992, that a labour dispute exists between the Ministry of Public Works, Department of Works & Engineering and the Department of Works & Engineering Division of the Bermuda Industrial Union."

Earlier today there was a meeting at the BIU headquarters with regard to the issue.

The dispute arose after 75 per cent of the workforce at the Government Quarry took industrial action on Wednesday, June 12, in support of a colleague who had been suspended for the unauthorized use of a Government vehicle.

A Government statement on that day said: “The Ministry had previously circulated an internal memorandum to the workforce at the Quarry in March 2013, which stated that the use of Government vehicles was for the ‘express purpose of doing Bermuda Government business only’.

“The Ministry cannot condone the unauthorized use of Government vehicles and is particularly concerned that such an action could result in a lack of insurance cover had an incident taken place.

“The Ministry initially proposed to suspend the worker for three weeks but after the initiation of a grievance process on Tuesday, June 11th, the Ministry took into consideration the employee’s good record and reduced the suspension to one week. 

Despite the grievance process already having commenced, workers downed tools first thing on Wednesday morning in support of their colleague violating the grievance procedure laid out in the Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) collective bargaining agreement. 

“The Ministry does not accept this action as it is not in accordance with the proper grievance procedure and requests that all workers return to work and allow the proper process to be followed.”