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BHB and BIU agree collective bargaining agreement

The BIU and BHB negotiation teams (photo supplied)

A three-year collective bargaining agreement has been agreed between the Bermuda Industrial Union and the Bermuda Hospitals Board – that will last for another three months.

Now both sides are getting ready for the next round of negotiations for a new two-year deal.

The negotiation period was for 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 and the deal will come to an end in October, when negotiations will start again.

R Scott Pearman, BHB Deputy CEO, said: “Although negotiations have taken some time, I’d like to recognise the hard work of both BHB and BIU negotiating teams in reaching an amicable agreement.

“Covid-19 has been a disruptive force to the process, but we have all adjusted and kept going. I must give a sincere appreciation for the BIU leadership and BIU hospital membership during what has been an incredibly challenging time for people working in healthcare.

“BIU staff include aides, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), environmental services staff, community care workers, laundry operators, maintenance personnel, orderlies, sterile processing technicians and food services employees.

“They are very much involved directly or in support of frontline care. Not only have they worked tirelessly to keep services running during the pandemic, but they have also stepped up to the plate in helping the hospital manage costs.

“They supported the pension and social insurance holidays, and while base pay remained stable, BIU members agreed last year to a temporary reduction in overtime rates.

“This has made a huge difference to BHB’s ability to meet its financial obligations to all its staff and keep services running throughout. Truly the BIU and its members have shown strength and compassion, and have played a major role in seeing our community and hospitals through this difficult time.”

Chris Furbert, BIU president, said: “We are very pleased to be completing the current negotiations, which have reflected the good relationship between the BIU and BHB.

“We appreciate the good faith with which both parties came to the table. It has been a very difficult 18 months for BHB and Bermuda as well as our membership, but we have stayed at the course and ensured employee rights are supported and fair agreements made.

“We recognise the financial pressures the hospitals are under because of the pandemic as well as the additional burden BHB and its staff have shouldered.

“I am very proud of the BIU members’ efforts and commitment in their work, and we all recognised the crisis being faced and so were willing to help out where we could to ease the financial burden.

Mr Furbert added: “We will all be rolling up our sleeves for the start of the next two year agreement negotiations in a few months, but we have built trusted relationships through this process and this will help us as we move on.”