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One PTB driver took to the roads intends to resign union membership

At least one bus driver was yesterday ignoring strike orders so he could ferry passengers around the Island.The Royal Gazette yesterday expressing their anger over the strike being called.The Royal Gazette spoke to three bus drivers yesterday who said many of their colleagues did not support the action which was taken after a female bus driver was sacked for refusing to take a drugs test.

Earlston Thompson said he intended to resign from the Bermuda Industrial Union “as soon as possible” and asked if others would follow suit, he said: “Some already have. Some resigned as early as last week.”

He was one of a number of drivers who spoke to

They claimed drivers had stayed away from a meeting to discuss strike action because they wanted to show the union they did not have their support and said they were just waiting for the word to go back to work.

One said she had withdrawn her membership of the BIU over a series of decisions she disagreed with.

Yesterday Mr Thompson was at the Hamilton bus station picking up passengers and said: “I couldn’t care less if you use my name.

“The Minister has said that if any driver wishes to operate the bus, then he or she can do so. So I have the express permission of the Minister, which has been confirmed by my superiors at the Department of Public Transport.

“I find that the Union can be of some good and some bad. I’m just tired of the Union protecting people who are wrong and trying to make it look right. Therefore, I personally will be resigning from the Union as a member.

“I will drive the bus all afternoon. I have been to Dockyard and to Barnes Corner today, and the response has been overwhelming by the passengers. They were all very happy to see the bus.

“I picked people up in Dockyard and took them to Hamilton on the number seven. I then took people back out to Barnes Corner on the number eight. And now I’m doing route four to Spanish Point. I will be returning here and going back to the West End on route eight.

“Initially from Dockyard I had five, then going back to Barnes Corner I had a dozen. I brought about seven back to Hamilton.”

Transport Minister Terry Lister yesterday issued a plea on the radio and through newspaper websites for bus drivers to return to work.

Yesterday an official at the Hamilton bus terminal, who asked not to be named, said: “Now that the Minister has gone out on the air, I guarantee you, tomorrow you will see a lot of drivers here in this terminal. People are fed up. There were a lot of bus drivers who wanted to sign on.”

The three, who wanted to stay anonymous, actually attended a rally organised on the steps of City Hall to protest the bus strike, although they kept a very low profile.

“We do not want to be on strike today. We want the public to know that a lot of us do not support this action. We do not want the public to criticise us.” They said they had given lifts in their own cars to stranded people on Wednesday when the strike was called and were ready to do the same yesterday.

The three said there were a lot of drivers who did not turn up at a meeting on Wednesday when strike action was called because they did not want to be seen to be supporting what was going on.

“If we could, we would be out there now,” they said.

Number 4 coming in for duty. Yesterday one bus driver made a stand and decided to return to work.(Photo by Akil Simmons) August 18,2011

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Published August 19, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 19, 2011 at 9:36 am)

One PTB driver took to the roads intends to resign union membership

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