What do we expect from our government, our unions, of our civil service?

Is it reasonable to expect our government to foster an atmosphere conducive to healthy and constructive dialogue? 

If so, why did the Chairman of the SAGE Commission, Brian Duperreault, choose to make public statements that painted the civil service negatively at this sensitive stage of negotiations? 

Implying that some civil servants are somehow inefficient and difficult to discipline. Yet failing to mention that it is the role of the PSU and the Cabinet Secretary to address such issues. 

Did Mr Duperreault forget his Commission has, within in its ranks, three former Cabinet Secretaries/heads of the civil service? All of whom were responsible for fostering the culture of the civil service. Where’s the public statement critiquing their role in the development of the civil service culture?  

Our unions represent our workers: the BPSU stands united for about 1,800 government workers, the BIU speaks on behalf of 1,200 government blue collar workers and the Bermuda Union of Teachers represent teachers. Prison officers and police are unionized as well.

These unions have consistently stated that, while they recognize the current tough economic environment, they have been campaigning for the job security of all Bermudian workers and oppose the reduction of jobs.   

Besides supporting the need to cut waste and improve efficiency, our unions are imploring our government to also focus on collecting the nearly $22 million of uncollected taxes owed by private business. Many of whom may be OBA supporters. Is this not a reasonable request?

It is understood that the BPSU members were asked to take a five per cent cut in pay as well as to take one day off per month without pay. Is this reasonable?  Especially since the OBA  failed to take the promised 10 per cent pay cut for politicians?

Does the fact that MP Leah Scott gets paid $106,444 as a part-time minister, and yet has no ministry, seem resonable?

Calls for cuts in the size of the civil service and blanket accusations of civil service ineptness are essentially talking about our fellow Bermudians. Is it reasonable for these fellow Bermudians to expect some respect? 

Let’s all be reasonable and allow the bargaining process to evolve in an environment that will be conducive to producing an agreement that best services the greater good of all.

That is what shared sacrifice is truly about.