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Royal Gazette Facebook readers weigh in

Our Facebook page was inundated with comments yesterday when we posed the question: ‘Do you support the bus strike?’

Comments ranged from ‘No!’ to ‘Absolutely not! Its pathetic!’

One person wrote: “And only in Bermuda does foolishness happen like this! I don’t support this strike.” And another posted: “I say we go on strike and then they can all stay home for good. We cannot allow these hostage type situations. I am happy to give people a ride if I see someone at a bus stop !!”

Out of 50-plus comments, it appeared that few supported the strike. One supporter said: “In principle yes, as the downing of tools is never an easy decision.”

Other comments included:

* “Nope! And the driver in question is just damn selfish at the end of it all she still would have had a job so what’s the big issue. Mistakes were made big whop mistakes are made on a daily basis! Take the damn test or happy job searching.”

* “No way, Do these people not see the impact that they are having on our Island.”

* “Hell No!! Mister Lister now is the time for you to earn the voters respect and confidence!!”

* “Once again this country is being held hostage by the idiots that run the BIU. It is very simple when you get hired you sign a contract and agree to all the terms and conditions of the employers. All she had to do is take the test and if she past great she could go back to work and if she failed well they send her on to EAP for treatment sessions and then she can return back to work.

You refused to take the test five times and therefore you got yourself fired. Live with your decision and stop ruining the rest of the countries reputation. Fire them all and give the jobs to all those people who would be more than happy to work. It is a shame this is going to hurt our island and no one in the BIU or PTB workers give a damn.”

There scores of comments on the story on our website as well, again with the majority appearing to be against the industrial action.

Comments included:

* “About time! I support the Government on this issue. This will send a clear message to all bus operators and other segments within the public service that the BUI does not have the final word about misconduct of an employee. We, the people will have to accept the inconvenience and make other arrangements.

* “If they issue a 21 day strike notice......it’s will be on Labor Day weekend, bringing disruption to the opening of schools, visitors and locals. Do all the drivers support this stance?”

* “If the Government backs down, ... they should step down. Immediately. And if they don’t take the BIU to court and sue for every cent (won’t be much !!!!) in their bank account ... I still say that they are weak, spineless tools ... A civilised society has to work with structure and just because the BIU doesn’t agree with the other 99 percent of Bermuda, it doesn’t mean they run the show. If this is their idea of responsible partnership ... I agree, fire the whole lot of them. In all the comments on all the websites I have yet to see ONE single post in support of the BIU.”

* One comment in support said: “member of the BIU for over 40 years, stand firm my brothers & sisters for justice. I trust that all of the details of this dispute will come to light.”

* “It is always preferable to negotiate and achieve a win-win result, avoiding industrial disputes or action; however, there are times when a line must be drawn. Following agreed processes is important (and it sounds like the management/Government has done so), but far too often inappropriate conduct or poor performance by some government and other unionised employees continues unchallenge or without accountability because there is more focus placed on processes than on the situation at hand. This seems to routinely permit employees to hide behind the stick of the Union or the Collective Bargaining Agreement not to mention the threat of industrial action. It is behaviour that contributes significantly to rampant mediocrity in these sectors, which must be stemmed.

“This employee was rightfully sacked. She should not have been fired outright on this basis, as such, but it does warrant investigation; hence, the request of a drug test. According to reports, she refused to do so, not just once, but five times. If these are the complete and correct details, then she absolutely should be sacked. It is a concern that management/Government were so overly generous in making the request on five occasions for the drug test and that it was allowed to drag on for seven weeks. Termination should have taken place after the first refusal by the employee.

“The private sector is not without it’s problems, but much of what is observed in the public sector work environment would never be tolerated. It would be good to see the Government initiate a change in what it tolerates of its staff and how it interacts with the Union.

“Regardless, the Bermuda Government must not back down from this decision to sack the employee. To do so only weakens its position and further erodes public confidence.”

Lastly, a post from someone who said they were a bus driver.

“As a Bus Operator there are about 80 percent of us that do not agree with the stance taken today but because there was a last-minute meeting called today and the majority were on the line and did not know what was transpiring at the time that the union meeting was called the ones that were there out ruled the operators that were against any type of stoppage (allied workers majority) therefore majority rules.

“Most of the operators would have rather taken a work to rule as we would still have been able to work and at least get a paycheck because as of now we will not be paid by being out on a strike.

“Most importantly the public would have been able to still have service as we would just be able to work our seven and half hours per day hence the visitors and locals alike would have no problem moving about the island via Public Transport.

“There are many comments that we have to see and hear that is really unfair to us especially when there are so many of us that are so accommodating to you all when you expect us to transport you when you are late and running for the bus, no correct fare and even no fare at all, not to mention no bus pass as it has expired.

“You love us when we accommodate but curse us when we say no. Can I say dammed if we do, dammed if we dont!! We like you have rent, mortgage, children in school and our hands are tied. Even if we did want to work management will not sign us on.

“Please stop the name calling because most of us are on your side and you would still want us to smile at you when you do board the bus. Wishing for things to change REAL SOON!!!”

* To sign up as a fan on our Facebook page go to: www.facebook.com/royalgazette.bm If you want to comment on our stories, register on our website www.royalgazette.com

A local sits at the Hamilton Bus Terminal yesterday morning. August 18,2011

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Published August 19, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 19, 2011 at 9:34 am)

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