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Minister - public is tired of labour disputes

Economy Minister Kim Wilson said the public was becoming tired of labour disputes - warning they could have a negative impact on Bermuda’s precarious economy.

The Minister also expressed her regret when disputed matters which cannot be resolved through the process of discussion and mediation end up in sudden work stoppages.

She issued a statement this afternoon as the bus dispute continues, Prison officers voted to take industrial action, Corporation of Hamilton workers downed tools and dock workers continue an overtime ban.

She said: “The public is becoming very weary of these frequent occurrences of labour unrest. We are currently in a very precarious position regarding our economy. And any disruption to our commerce, trade and other services that are needed to make Bermuda function efficiently can have a tremendously adverse affect on our overall community.

“As an example, when such crucial services as public transportation are hampered, it has a domino effect on residents who rely on this key service to carry out their every day responsibilities.

“In a climate when Bermudians are trying to make the very most of their resources to provide for their families an interruption of public services due to industrial action, just adds another unnecessary layer of unease on those hard working Bermudians who simply want to get through each day without having to be concerned about a public service, which is uncertain or unreliable.

“Service interruptions also have an adverse affect on our visitors who seek to explore the Island using our modes of public transport. Undoubtedly, this has a knock on affect on our economy with reduced visitor spending.”

She added: “As leaders, employers, employees and unions, we must be cognizant of setting positive examples for our next generation. In fact it was only last week that I spoke to about 100 summer interns and impressed upon them the importance of having a strong work ethic, which means having integrity, pride and respect in how they conduct themselves professionally. I also stressed the importance of going above and beyond when providing a service to others.

“We understand that the nature of the workplace means that disputes and complaints will arise from time to time. We also understand the importance of upholding the rights of the worker and finding an amicable balance when disagreements arise between management and the employee. And we also understand the role of the union to act as an advocate for the rights of the worker.

“However, again, these are delicate times that we are currently living in and it is my hope that all parties would exhaust every single available avenue to find common ground solutions before engaging in snap industrial action. And I want to call upon employers to ensure fair practices and the implementation of policies in accordance with standard operating procedures. As I said last Friday, my Ministry is monitoring the current labour matters very closely, and we will follow the processes as outlined under the Labour Relations Act 1975.

“Ultimately, it is hoped that the industrial unrest being experienced in the various workforce sectors can be resolved without any undue unease or disruption to the public.”

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Published August 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm (Updated August 16, 2011 at 5:43 pm)

Minister - public is tired of labour disputes

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