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City managers are still awaiting new collective bargaining agreement

Management staff employed by the City of Hamilton have been working without a new collective bargaining agreement and with no word from city planners on when talks will begin.

Bermuda Public Services Union General Secretary Ed Ball aired concerns at the monthly meeting held in the Mayor’s Parlour yesterday.

The last agreement expired on December 31, the decision to give managers the right to have union representation by the BPSU was made by the former Mayor Charles Gosling.

Mr Ball said the BPSU “wrote in months ago, prior to the expiration, to determine a start date for negotiations”. With little or no movement he said: “The new administration is sending a bad signal.

“At the end of the day our union has to make a determination based on issues that come up repeatedly. We’ve written in asking for the resumption of talks with no response.

“The only response I got today was that they will schedule a meeting, the Mayor did send me a letter, all he said was ‘we’ll talk’. I’ve seen him on a couple of occasions, I’ve called and suggested a few dates and we’re still waiting on a date from him.

“Recognition as you know, is paramount to any trade unionist so we took it upon ourselves to have three meetings, the first was an introduction meeting with the new mayor. He was accompanied by Larry Scott, who at that time was chairman of the Governance Committee.

“Since then we’ve had two further meetings when it was determined that things were not clarified.

“This is a matter of recognition for all trade unions, one before the Freedom of Association Committee at the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The ongoing case stems from a complaint sent in 1998 by the fraternal unions of Bermuda.

“At that time you had supervisors and managers being denied the right to belong to a union, not just the BPSU. Things have gotten a bit better since then, we thought that it was resolved since it went to the Labour Advisory Council as well,” said Mr Ball.

“It’s one of those principled trade union items that you don’t take for granted, whenever its endangered union officials must jump on it.”

He noted that the City of Hamilton has two agent groups, one for managers, which is “an entirely different agent group from the administrative staff”. There are two separate bargaining agreements.

When contacted Mayor Graeme Outerbridge said: “Mr Ed Ball came to the public meeting this afternoon. The Council indicated we would like to meet with the BPSU. This Council will not negotiate through the media.”

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Published February 07, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated February 06, 2013 at 10:42 pm)

City managers are still awaiting new collective bargaining agreement

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