Christopher Famous
Christopher Famous

Recently there has been some friction between the BIU and the OBA. It seems that some media figures and bloggers are attempting to paint any union action as a PLP/BIU conspiracy to bring down the OBA government.

Let’s have a quick history lesson on union action during the time of the PLP Government.

 Teachers protested;

• Ferry workers protested;

• Bus drivers protested;

• Police officers protested;

• Government workers protested;

• Belco workers protested.

So my question is, when these workers downed tools, where they working in a conspiracy with the UBP to bring down the PLP? Or where they just looking for fairness in pay and working conditions, as all humans have a universal right to?

I am a blue collar unionized worker and my father was an unionized worker. There is no other way for a worker to get fair representation and just compensation without a union working on their behalf. Unions are not run by one individual, they are run by the membership. Whatever the members are seeking to be addressed, the union council/executive must act upon. So if it is a wage dispute or dispute over working conditions, the union leaders take their lead from the shop floor and take it to management.

Some elements of the media will always attempt to demonize union leaders, the same way they will attempt to demonize leaders of the PLP. To the leaders of every union in Bermuda; BIU, BPSU, BUT, ESTU, TUC and on behalf of the workers of this country — we thank you for never wavering. 

To the media,businesses or political elements that think this is the time to pounce and break the unions of Bermuda, quickly dismiss those thoughts. Think and act in a spirit of co-operation and not confrontation. The unions of Bermuda are going nowhere. The unions are not one man; they are thousands of Bermudians. And yes, “United we stand”.

To my fellow Bermudians workers, now more than ever we have to step up our game up. This is the time to upgrade our skill sets and learn how to multi-task on the job. Why? Simply because of the economic situation globally, there are many unemployed persons all around the world. 

They are looking for a place to work .They are looking for a place that is warm. They are looking for somewhere to start or raise a family. They are looking to come to Bermuda. We have a Government that is rolling out the red carpet for them. Raise your game so you can truly be the better option.

Thank you, readers

Today let me conclude by saying ‘thank you’ to you, my readers. For one year now you have been reading my writing in this paper and before that, in another paper. 

Last year a friend asked me to help edit a letter he wished to submit to the editor of The Royal Gazette. I edited it and added a few paragraphs, sent it back to him and said he just had to add his name and submit it. His reply shocked me: “I can’t put my name to this letter, as I am looking for a job and I don’t wish to be blacklisted.”

Right there, it hit me between the eyes; that in the year 2012 we have a society where a young black man is afraid to put his name to a well written political letter simply because it could stifle his ability to find a job. So I submitted the letter under my name; after all, I had written half of it. Nearly three weeks later it got printed. I then decided to continue writing. Over the last year, my columns have upset a few people — and enlightened many.

There comes a time when each of us has to make a decision. Do we stand up for what we truly believe, or do we hide our convictions? For me, this was not a hard choice, as I come from a family and community that does not bow down to oppression. On the flip side, one must always recognize and respect that others have different life experiences and values. Hence they will defend those elements as well.

Whatever it is that one values, the main thing is to have the conviction of putting your name behind your actions. Research the facts and present your thoughts in a respectful manner. 

So to my readers — black,white, brown, yella, high yella, OBA, PLP, NFP Bermudian, non-Bermudian, male, female, extraterrestial — I thank you for devoting a few minutes of your time to my writings. I thank you for your feedback via e-mail, Facebook or face-to-face. I thank you for taking the time to remind me I write that not for myself — but for you.