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1981 general strike remembered

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Chris Furbert, president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, reads a proclamation with Nishanthi Bailey, the Bermuda Union of Teachers president. At left, Molly Burgess of the BIU with Ottiwell Simmons, a former BIU president (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

Veterans of the 1981 General Strike were applauded yesterday outside the former headquarters of the Bermuda Industrial Union.

A small crowd gathered to commemorate the landmark event 40 years on.

Chris Furbert, the BIU president, read a declaration of solidarity with Nishanthi Bailey, the president of the Bermuda Union of Teachers, at a corner overlooking Union Square.

Ottiwell Simmons, a former BIU president, watched with Helena “Molly” Burgess, one of the BIU negotiators from 1981, and Wendell Hassell, a former head of the union’s construction division.

The statement highlighted the 1980 deadlock at a meeting between the BIU and the Government to negotiate wage increases for blue collar and hospital workers.

The stand-off led to the brief General Strike, which ended peacefully on May 7, 1981 after a deal was struck.

The Right Reverend Nicholas Dill, the Bishop of Bermuda, opened the ceremony with a prayer “as we gather in this place with many different memories, some very personal, and look at our community”.

The ceremony was organised by Glenn Fubler, a community activist.

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Published May 06, 2021 at 8:05 am (Updated May 06, 2021 at 8:05 am)

1981 general strike remembered

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