Solidarity: The Port Workers’ Division marches from Union Square to celebrate the BIU and the unity of its members. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

Solidarity: The Port Workers’ Division marches from Union Square to celebrate the BIU and the unity of its members. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

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During his speech at the annual labor banquet on Friday night Premier Ewart Brown reminded Bermudians of various initiatives the PLP had introduced in recent years to ease the financial burdens of Bermudians.

They included free daycare for children and free education at the Bermuda College.

“It seems as if there will always be those who believe that they can sew the seeds of division between us,” the Premier said. “When they tell you we did nothing for Bermudians, tell them how we protected our construction workers’ jobs by restricting work permits for companies that don’t display the will or commitment to employ Bermudians.

“When they say we don’t care about our seniors, tell them about how we brought you FutureCare — quality, affordable healthcare that is already covering two thirds of Bermuda’s seniors.”

He added: “As I prepare to leave the stage and frontline politics, know that Wanda and I will always hold each of you near and dear to our hearts.”

At Union Square, Hamilton on Monday UBP Leader Kim Swan addressed the crowd, warning of Bermuda’s “serious” economical and social problems, unprecedented joblessness, prolific murders and a “growing gang culture fuelled by the drug trade”.

“Today our country desperately needs for its people to unite and take responsibility for turning our country around,” Mr. Swan said.

He praised BIU president Chris Furbert’s announcement that hotel employers and hotel workers agreed to accept a wage freeze.

“Clearly it was an act of hotel employers, employees and the union working together and acting responsibly during tough times,” Mr. Swan said.

“In my estimation this announcement by BIU president Chris Furbert and the hotel employers was huge… a major announcement that demonstrated leadership and good faith.

“Going forward this country needs to follow that cooperative spirit and keep our business viable and our people employed.”

In his Labor Day speech BDA Leader Craig Cannonier also paid tribute to Bermuda’s workers.

He said: “To those who labour day and night to care for our children, to look after our elderly, to provide services to our visitors, to keep our island safe… to all of you I say it is because of you that I am proud to be a Bermudian.”

As well as speeches, there was a march by various unions as well as a host of entertainment throughout the day.