Protest Illustrates Deteriorating Labour Relations

PLP Statement: Protest Illustrates Deteriorating Labour Relations
Statement by PLP Spokesperson for Workforce Development Rolfe Commissiong, JP, MP

Nothing illustrates more the ongoing deteriorating state of Labour Relations in the minority OBA Government’s Bermuda than the recent protest by the Bermuda Union of Teachers on the Cabinet grounds.

Having seen their negotiations stalled since January, the BUT was right to protest the length of time it has taken to secure a new collective bargaining agreement.

But they are not alone. Every union in Bermuda which represents government workers are in the same unacceptable position. The Bermuda Industrial Union and the Bermuda Public Services Union have also been without a new collective bargaining agreement since 2012.

While they go without a raise in over five years, inflation eats away at these members’ stagnated salaries. They experience their standard of living, and that of their families, decline as the ruinous cost of living in the two Bermudas continues to erode the middle class.

The OBA Government does not have teachers’ interests at heart, nor that of their students who have been shortchanged again and again. In their fifth year as government, the OBA has shown they have plenty of time to negotiate an airport contract with a Canadian entity, find the funds for America’s Cup, and provide concessions left, right and centre for foreign investors. But when it comes to employment contracts for our mostly Bermudian teachers, they are last on the list.

The Progressive Labour Party makes a firm commitment that as government we will establish a healthier relationship with our trade unions and enhance worker protections.

We view our unions as valued stakeholders and public servants who make Bermuda work; and not as adversaries to be treated as if they are surplus to requirements.