BIU admits slow response to Stevedoring proposals
A drop in communications between the firm running the Hamilton docks and the union representing much of its staff was acknowledged last night by Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union.
Warren Jones, the chief executive of Stevedoring Services Limited, said yesterday that the BIU had fallen silent for June and July over his company's proposals for cuts — during which time SSL's losses from the Covid-19 pandemic grew substantially worse.
The two sides met again at the start of this month to discuss a package of austerity measures for port workers.
Mr Furbert said that “when we met on August 12, the union apologised for not getting back to him until August 5”.
But he maintained that “if Mr Jones wanted an answer sooner, he could have given the union a deadline”.
He added: “Furthermore, he could have reached out to the BIU for a response if the union was taking too long to respond, but he did nothing.”
Mr Furbert said the meeting of August 12 had been “very positive”, with an agreement that the BIU president would review proposals and respond by e-mail, which he did.
He said: “We agreed to meet again on Friday, August 14, 2020 to go over the numbers that we produced.”
But he said Mr Jones arrived at that meeting with a “completely different attitude — he just rejected the cost savings, saying we are outsourcing the garage”.
Mr Furbert said the SSL head had also failed to alert the public that on August 17, the unionised port workers division gave five days' notice “suspending overtime for an indefinite period of time as of August 24”.