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BIU action did not hit hotels, industry says

Stephen Todd, the CEO of the Bermuda Hotel Association CEO (File photograph)

A slow return to normal working may have made hotel staff reluctant to take part in the Bermuda Industrial Union’s strike action, the head of the sector’s association has said.

Stephen Todd, the chief executive officer of the Bermuda Hotels Association, confirmed that industrial action last week had “little, if any, adverse impact” on the sector.

Mr Todd explained that a “negligible” amount of hotel staff missed work during industrial action.

He added: “When it comes to our industry, and several other industry sectors, a high percentage of our colleagues were displaced and were unable to have gainful employment during the peak of the pandemic.

“I believe that each household and individual is adjusting to getting back to work and I would like to believe that, to some extent, that had a bearing on their ability or consideration to participate in a protest.”

The BIU downed tools last Monday and Tuesday in a protest legislation that allows non-union members of a bargaining unit to have a vote on decertification of a trade union.

Chris Furbert, the BIU president, confirmed last Wednesday that there will be one day a week protests from next Monday.

Mr Todd said it was too early to judge if the lack of participation by hotel staff would continue.

He added that hotels had an “excellent relationship” with the BIU.

Mr Todd said: “We didn’t see this particular issue as being one that was of significant interest to our colleagues in the hotel industry. Apparently, they were of the same view.

“We haven’t had any sort of comments or any sort of feedback from our colleagues at all, so it’s not something that has given rise to any discussion with the active operators of the hotel properties.

“So, as the saying goes, we’ve let sleeping dogs lie.”

The strike last Monday had a major effect on bus and ferry services and landscaping work at parks and trash collection at beaches were also hit.

Mr Todd warned earlier that continued industrial action could send the wrong message to the tourism industry overseas and potential visitors, which could be serious as the economy’s struggles to recover from the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said last Friday: “What we’re really hopeful of is that the Government and the Bermuda Industrial Union are able to get back around the table and hopefully seek a positive outcome and resolution to the current issue.

“I understand that efforts are being made on the part of both sides to hopefully get back to the table and to continue their discussions with the view of achieving a positive outcome.

“We would hope that is something that can be achieved in the not too distant future without the need for ongoing protests and disruptions in overall services.”

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Published September 08, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated September 08, 2021 at 7:36 am)

BIU action did not hit hotels, industry says

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