WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 29: As most people will be aware, the Bermuda Police Association was asked by government to consider taking a 9.5% pay cut that would be mitigated by a freeze in pension contribution for a period of one (1) year.
Since that time, we have been considering that option along with other options designed to save government money, in the spirit of the request. However, during our deliberations, questions arose regarding the legal ability of us, the Association, to agree to the request. We considered it prudent to seek legal advice on the matter.
We have since been advised by our lawyer that due to the way the Association was established by the Police Act, 1974 and the Bermuda Police Association Regulations, 1968, the Association is restricted by law in how it can represent its members. We are advised that the Association does not have the scope or power of a normal trade union. Our limited powers and objects do not allow us to agree to any variation of the conditions of service established by the Permanent Police Tribunal. We have been further advised that should we, the Association, agree to the Government’s request, we may render ourselves liable to redress by individual members through the judicial process.
Based on the legal advice we have received, we are of the opinion that the Bermuda Police Association is prohibited from agreeing to the Government’s request or any other offer as long as we are bound by contract. Our current contract expires at the end of September 2012, so there may be an opportunity to consider options during the new contract negotiations.