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Premier: relevant bodies addressing Belco job issue

The Premier and Minister of Finance, David Burt (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

An industrial matter affecting Belco workers is being addressed by the relevant bodies, David Burt, the Premier, told the House of Assembly yesterday.

The Royal Gazette reported this week that some staff at the power company were sent notices stating that their positions were under consideration for redundancy while others were offered early retirement.

Responding to questions from Jarion Richardson, the leader of the One Bermuda Alliance, Mr Burt said: “The Government would not be able to comment on the content of any discussions, if there are any discussions — I don’t know if there are.”

He said the matter was governed by the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act.

Mr Richardson said given the “necessity” of Belco as the sole supplier of electricity, “shouldn’t the Government have engaged with Belco as it relates to this labour matter?”

Mr Burt responded: “There are laws which govern the manner in which labour disputes are handled.

“We do know there may be matters but until those matters get into this space, I don’t think that we should get inside the space of speculation.

“I think that it has been clear that there are persons that are discussing between themselves, there is a union, there is a company and we will see where those matters lie.”

He added: “We are a labour government representing a labour party, we believe in the rights of workers collectively organised to make sure they make their presentations, and the Government will always stand with the workers of this country.

“It is my hope that if there is any particular dispute, that matter can be resolved amicably.

“But let there be no doubt that this Government will continue to support the workers of this country wherever they may be inside of organised labour to ensure that workers are treated fairly.”

He accused Mr Richardson of “being premature”.

Mr Richardson pressed further on the issue, but the Premier said it was being handled by the Regulatory Authority, and he could not speak on its behalf.

The Electricity Supply Trade Union said on Monday that it had discussed austerity measures and redundancies with Belco, but that the company had taken steps to “disengage from that dialogue”.

The union said it had presented alternatives to redundancies.

Belco said it was looking into areas for restructuring but was consulting the union in accordance with the Employment Act 2000.

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Published June 16, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated June 17, 2024 at 3:40 pm)

Premier: relevant bodies addressing Belco job issue

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