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Union and Government to talk

Bermuda Industrial Union President Chris Furbert will hold a press conference this morning in the lead up to the first of a series of meetings with the new Minister of Home Affairs.

The conference, which gets underway at 10.30am at BIU Headquarters will focus on labour concerns.

One of those concerns may be the status of wage negotiations for 1,200 Government blue collar workers.

The last two-year agreement expired in December 2011 and to date, no agreement has been reached. At last check no talks were scheduled.

Negotiations continued throughout the year but the union was informed just prior to the general election that “there would be no movement on wage negotiations until after the election”.

Meanwhile, the first in what is expected to be a series of monthly meetings with Minister Michael Fahy will be held on January 16 with BIU executives. That meeting was initially planned for January 9.

Earlier this week, Mr Furbert said: “I don’t know what’s going to happen under the One Bermuda Alliance Government.

“Recognising that the previous Government had a shortage of revenues based on them giving exemption from payroll tax for the hotel employers, the retail sector as well as other things to keep people gainfully employed, the Government revenues were down.

“So they came to the BIU for assistance and we tried to do what we could to assist. If the OBA comes with a similar approach, I see no reason why the unions won’t sit down with their members and get back to the OBA with a response.

Said Mr Furbert: “I can’t speak on behalf of any other union, as I say from time to time, I’m the spokesperson for the BIU.

“Mr Fahy’s Permanent Secretary did reach out to me to say that the Minister would like to meet on Wednesday, January 9 at 12pm.

“We’ve been having monthly meetings with the outgoing Minister Patrice Minors for the past 15 months now. Every month we’ve been meeting on the second or third Wednesday of every month to have dialogue with the Minister.

“So I’m glad to hear Mr Fahy say he’s willing to work with labour but you need to stay tuned because there’s some other things coming.

“I can’t give it to you right now, but as soon as I am clear you will hear more about what Mr Fahy’s whole intentions are for labour. All I can tell you is stay tuned.”

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Published January 10, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 10, 2013 at 10:55 pm)

Union and Government to talk

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