*File photo
*File photo

Premier Craig Cannonier hopes the unions and Government can work better together to avoid industrial action, in light of last week’s strike.

Last week, Marine and Ports workers downed tools and the ferry service was suspended because Government announced it would charter a 400-passenger ferry for the tourism season.

The captain and engineer would be foreign, but the rest of the crew would be Bermudian.

Marine and Ports Workers stopped working at 11:30am on Thursday because they felt it was “extremely disrespectful” for government to make the decision without consulting the union.

Mr Crockwell said last week the ferry, Millennium, would cost government $1.2 million and would only be used for six months.

He also said the BIU had been notified about the charter ferry.

Marine and Port workers eventually went back to work the following day.

BIU leader Chris Furbert said staff had gone back to work on condition there were further talks with Government over the use of the Millennium, which will be piloted and maintained by two overseas operators, but with a Bermudian crew, and other concerns.

Today, at a press conference, Premier Cannonier addressed the issue and said: “Certainly the Minister of Tourism and Transport was shocked having received an email from the BIU.

“I thought it was very irresponsible to move in that manner.

“We must be working together.

“I will be encouraging our unions to work with the ministry and the other groups.

“We moved forward with a plan that had been in place with our predecessor.”

In today’s Gazette, it was reported that half the fast ferry fleet is out of operation because of failure to maintain.

The paper reports a “lack of cash” is to blame and maintenance work hasn’t been carried out for years.