Brown’s Labour Day praise for workers
Bermuda's workers are the “lifeblood” of the community, the Minister of Home Affairs said yesterday.
Walton Brown said that without the dedication and service of the workers “Bermuda simply wouldn't run”.
He added: “I wish to salute each and every worker for your contribution to Bermuda.”
Mr Brown, who also celebrated his birthday yesterday, thanked the island's unions for protecting workers.
He added: “You play a critical role in advocating for the rights of workers and ensuring a harmonious working environment.”
Mr Brown said that he hoped employers who invested in their staff continued to “maintain a competitive advantage of those employers who do not work as diligently in providing employees with the skills they need or empowering them to perform their jobs in the workplace”.
He added “regular and respectful” dialogue was needed in labour relations.
Mr Brown said: “Simply put, it's good for the country when the Government and the unions have a positive working relationship.
“And this government strongly values that relationship.”
Mr Brown was speaking as workers celebrated Labour Day with a rally and march through Hamilton.
Jeanne Atherden, leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, said that all residents “should stop for a moment and reflect on what we take for granted” on Labour Day.
She added that modern Bermuda had “only been made possible by the hard work and sacrifices made by unions and the people who have laboured in this country”.
Ms Atherden highlighted employment contracts, improved working conditions and health and safety improvements as just a few of the advances earned through the work of the unions.
She added: “A strong work ethic and service commitment by Bermuda workers forged a partnership with employers which benefited the country as a whole.”
Ms Atherden said that advances in technology would create new challenges for the labour movement.
She added: “Just as in the industrial revolution, workers in the future will have to realign themselves with the changing labour demands directed by technological advances.
“Workers will have to retool and unions will be required once again to establish new relationships and forge new agreements.”
Ms Atherden said that history should serve as the blueprint for the future. “We have shown that labour and employers can successfully work together and therein lies the hope for the future,” she said.