Who the cap fit, let them wear it

  • Old hat: Jason Hayward in his days as a white-collar union leader (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Old hat: Jason Hayward in his days as a white-collar union leader (File photograph by Akil Simmons)


Dear Sir,

May I present your readers with an interesting timeline.

March 2017. Bernews: “On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, Jason Hayward, president of the Bermuda Public Service Union succeeded Chris Furbert as the president of the Bermuda Trade Union Congress”.

One of his pledges: “High on the BTUC’s agenda will be advocating for the implementation of a ‘living wage’, addressing systemic income inequality, strengthening workers’ wages and benefits and exploring the development of co-operatives.”

April 2019. Bernews: “The Chartered Management Institute is delighted to award senator Jason Hayward the highest professional status, chartered manager. Raising the quality of management skills is essential to the wellbeing and productivity of the British workforce. Unqualified, accidental managers mean that four in ten of us rate our line managers as ineffective. Professionally trained managers such as Senator Hayward improve business performance and operations.”

January 2020. Bernews: Jason Hayward: “Despite the narrative of Bermuda being in economic decline that some aim to paint, the data supports that Bermuda’s economy is not in decline and there is no recession. It is misleading at best for individuals to use the performance of retail establishments as a measure for the country’s overall economic performance. It also serves no meaningful purpose for others to continue to preach the falsehoods of doom and gloom.”

April 2020: The Royal Gazette: Jason Hayward: “This pandemic has exposed the fragility of our economy ... The effect of Covid-19 on economies around the world will present governments with new fiscal challenges that will require government officials and union leaders to work in collaboration and co-operation. The old behaviours of maintaining entrenched positions at the expense of increased efficiency, productivity and service delivery must change ...”

Wait ... Did I read that right? “Old behaviours of maintaining entrenched positions at the expense of efficiency, productivity and service must change”?

Where has this voice of sound economic reasoning come from? Certainly Mr Hayward’s chartered manager achievement is to be commended and obviously would give him great perspective on the strategies of business efficiency. However, I also note that he has changed occupational “hats”.

Six months ago, in November 2019, he announced he was stepping down from his position as president of the BPSU and on November 29, 2019, after winning the by-election for Constituency 17 (Pembroke Central), he was sworn in as a Member of Parliament.

He now wears the MP cap, which apparently has given him even greater clarity on matters of government efficiency and fiscal responsibility.

Yes, Mr Hayward, I wholeheartedly agree that unions must become “transformational partners” with the Government, but that must include recognising that their overall relevance in today’s working world is quite different than in the past.

Thanks to the historical and valuable efforts of unions, the legislative protection now afforded to all employees is stronger than ever and workers’ rights are enshrined in law.

However, along with these workers’ rights, increased efficiency, productivity and accountability should go hand in hand, and our unions must shift some of their focus and raison d’être to adopting a reputation for being providers of high-quality service to match their (wage/benefits) collective bargaining agreements.

This is hardly too much to ask and something that this labour government just may be able to achieve, when no other government in recent memory has.

Oh, what a difference a pandemic — and a new hat — makes. The scales have fallen from my eyes. I was blind, but now I see.

BEVERLEY CONNELL

Pembroke

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Published May 5, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated May 5, 2020 at 7:56 am)

Who the cap fit, let them wear it

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