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One Communications workers stage ‘sit-out’

Workers at One Communications downed tools yesterday amid claims that members of staff were “targeted” for removal from the firm.

Representatives met government ministers to voice their concerns and the company said it was trying to resolve the matter swiftly.

However, it was believed no agreement had been reached by yesterday evening and the dispute continued with further action possible today.

George Scott, chief union organiser for the Bermuda Industrial Union, said the “sit-out” had started in the early afternoon.

He claimed the workers’ grievance stemmed from a number of employees, possibly about 14, who had left the company after they were “targeted”.

Mr Scott added: “They made them redundant or, in the case of the last one, they said he did not pass his probation.”

He said efforts had been made to return staff to their posts today and a resolution was passed with company bosses yesterday.

However, Mr Scott said workers were not satisfied with the terms when they were relayed by the union.

Mr Scott told The Royal Gazette: “The dispute is still ongoing.”

The industrial action was described as a “work stoppage” or “sit-out”.

Mr Scott explained: “It’s not a strike.”

One Communications, formerly KeyTech, was founded in 1998 and a series of mergers in 2014 saw it acquire internet, cell and cable television companies in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

It describes itself online as “the leading full-service telecommunications provider for corporate and residential customers” in both territories.

In a statement, the company said yesterday: “One Communications confirms that industrial action has taken place regarding the release of a non-union manager.

“We are actively working with the parties involved to resolve matters as quickly as possible, with a view to minimising any impact this may have on our customers.”

A government spokeswoman confirmed last night: “A ministerial team led by the minister responsible for labour, Lovitta Foggo, and accompanied by the minister responsible for immigration, Wayne Caines, today met with staff from One Communications to hear their concerns.

“Government’s role is to facilitate a dispute resolution and we will work with both parties to achieve that goal.

“Government is treating this with the urgency and sensitivity that such matters require and we will meet with all crucial parties as a matter of priority.”