Thomas to return as BPSU president
A former president of Bermuda’s white-collar union will be back in the post from March, a union representative confirmed yesterday.
Ed Ball, the general secretary of the Bermuda Public Services Union, confirmed that Armell Thomas will be sworn in as the union’s new president on March 14.
Mr Ball said that Lloyquita Symonds will continue as temporary president in the interim.
He added that Mr Thomas had run for the post unopposed and will hold the job for a three-year term.
Jason Hayward, the last president, stepped down to fight the Pembroke Central by-election, which he won for the Progressive Labour Party last week.
Mr Thomas left the post in 2011 after serving six years and was replaced by Kevin Grant.
Mr Ball said Mr Thomas had been a “very effective president”.
He added: “The membership will expect that we continue to be assertive, not necessarily aggressive, but with forethought and to keep abreast with changes both locally and globally.”
Mr Ball said that Mr Thomas would create a strategic plan “that will be the focus of projects and/or direction that the union will go for the three years”.
He added that Mr Thomas could not yet speak about his appointment.
Mr Ball explained: “The constitution will forbid him from making any comments whatsoever.
“He has to be sworn in.”
Mr Thomas spearheaded a march on Parliament over a pay dispute in 2008.
In an interview with The Royal Gazette in 2011 he said the dispute was a “boiling point”.
He said at the time: “All we wanted to do was meet with Government to discuss some things about the percentage increase.
“They didn’t want to meet.”
The march of the House of Assembly involved thousands of civil servants, police officers and teachers, as well as members of the Bermuda Industrial Union.
Mr Ball said: “All we wanted was respect.
“Had we had respect, meetings and all that, what happened would not have happened.”
The union ended up with a pay rise higher than expected through an arbitration award.
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