The Bermuda Trade Union Congress (BTUC) would like to inform its members and the general public that it was invited to a meeting with The Minister of Finance, The Hon. Bob Richards, JP, MP, Mr. Manders the Financial Secretary, and Mrs. Whitter the Acting Deputy Head of Civil Service the on January 29, 2014.

The BTUC considered that meeting to be an introduction to their planned way forward as it relates to changes within the public service. The BTUC would like to make it clear that the meeting should not be interpreted as consultation.

The BTUC were introduced to the subjects of Public Service Reform, Downsizing and Pension Reform.

In regards to the topic, Public Service Reform, the BTUC support efforts by the Government to make public services more efficient, more productive and to improve governance. However we hope that the aim of this exercise is not to reduce job, wages and benefits in a systematic way. We believe that this process should be driven by the Civil Service Executive with minimal Ministerial interference.

The BTUC responded to the Minister seeking further clarity on the follow:

1. What will be the composition of the committee spearheading this process?

2. What former reviews conducted will the committee be using to support it implementation plan?

As it relates to pensions, the BTUC understand the challenges that the underfunded liability will have as it relates to those who will receive the benefit and the Government. As a result the BTUC are open to working with the Government to find solutions to address the issues we collectively face. The BTUC is also please to hear that the Government will not be considering moving from a Defined Benefit Plan to a Defined Contribution Plan as we are strongly opposed to the notion of that suggestion.

Finally as it relates to downsizing, we recognize that several methods were put on the table such as mutualization, outsourcing of services and transformation in Quangos for 13 purposed Government Departments. The BTUC do not support such privatization initiatives and responded to the Minister seeking information as it relates to each department on the following:

1 . What are the increased service costs to the public?

2. What is the total number of workers that will be adversely affected?

3. What proven model of privatization will be used?

4. What will be the nature of the committee formulated to review the feasibility of privatization?

The BTUC would like to thank the Minister for the meeting with us and look forward to more meaningful dialogue in the future in addition to responses to the question we have provided. The BTUC would like to inform our members that as we receive information in relations to public service changes we will do are due diligence to keep you informed.