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‘Conciliation could settle police dispute’

Unresolved matters at the heart of a deadlock over police officers' work conditions could be settled by conciliation, the Government said last night.

Wayne Furbert, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, explained that the public sector negotiating team advised the Bermuda Police Association of its intention to refer certain issues to the ministry responsible for labour.

The BPA was expected to hold an emergency meeting today for its members to consider a way forward.

Mr Furbert said: “While the public sector negotiating team is essentially responsible for leading our union negotiations, the Government is keen to conclude the Bermuda Police Association's discussions for a new collective bargaining agreement in a timely fashion.

“While the parties have made progress in reaching agreement on some matters, regrettably, negotiations have reached an impasse.”

He added that the PSNT sent a letter to the BPA last Friday “advising that negotiations had stalled”.

Mr Furbert said: “The letter also gave notice that the PSNT is in the process of referring certain outstanding matters to the Labour Relations Section of the Ministry of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport for settlement by conciliation.

“I can advise that both parties are eager to conclude the negotiations.

“For our part, this Government will continue to work in good faith with the BPA to settle outstanding issues related to the terms and conditions of service.”

The Police Act 1974 defines conciliation as “any method or process used, including mediation, in order to settle a dispute amicably or to bring about an agreement”.

Sergeant Andrew Harewood, the BPA chairman, said on Tuesday that talks included a call for officers to be provided with legal cover if they become the subject of an investigation into an incident during the course of their duties.

Other problems still to be settled include government employee health insurance contributions.

The Bermuda Police Association marched onto Cabinet grounds amid concerns in 2015 (File photograph).

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Published August 22, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated August 22, 2019 at 1:49 am)

‘Conciliation could settle police dispute’

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