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BIU assets drop to $8.11m, statements reveal

Bermuda Industrial Union’s assets have fallen to just over $8 million, according to its most up-to-date audited financial statement.

The BIU had $8.11 million in assets, including about $75,000 cash in the bank, at the end of 2008/9. Two years previously, it had $11.85 million in assets, including $338,000 cash in the bank.

The Registrar General released the audited accounts for 2000 to 2009 yesterday following months of complaints that union members didn’t know if there was enough funds to support them in times of trouble.

On September 30, 2009, the union had $4.44 million in offices and buildings, $765,000 in land, $2.57 million in other assets and $75,153 in the bank.

During 2008/9, the union had a total income of $2.89 million, and total expenditure of $3.56 million, with an overall deficit of $663,994.

Throughout that year, the union collected $2.05 million from its members, down from $2.20 million the previous year. The number of members dropped from 3,953 in January 2009 to 3,855 in December 2009.

It spent $1.57 million on salaries of paid officers during 2008/9, and another $1.57 million on other expenses of management.

A further $2,002 went on sickness pay to members, as well as $1,571 superannuation pay, $3,600 education benefits and $15,002 unemployment and other benefits.

In its auditors’ report for 2008/9, chartered accountants Moore, Stephens and Butterfield say the union has failed to submit a general audited statement of the receipts, funds, effects and expenditure showing its assets, liabilities and receipts and expenditure, by the terms of the Trade Union Act 1965.

The financial statement for 200⅞ appears to show Union Asset Holdings, BIU’s wholly-owned subsidiary, lost $3.18 million during that year.

No explanation appears to be provided for that loss, but it may explain why the union’s total assets fell from $11.85 million to $8.67 million in the course of that year.

Union Asset Holdings previously owed Government $6.8 million under a bond due when the Berkeley school project failed.

But in May 2009, former Premier Ewart Brown announced that bond was forgiven because the debt risked destroying the union. If that debt was removed from the union’s current assets, the BIU would be left with little over $1.2 million.

In recent months, the BIU has faced continual criticism for failing to file its financial statements, which it is required to do annually by the 1965 Act.

One Bermuda Alliance Senator Michael Fahy has claimed union members have repeatedly approached him saying they’re concerned whether the BIU has enough money to help if they’re forced on strike this year.

BIU president Chris Furbert announced the statements for 2000 to 2009 had been filed in early September, but the Registrar General refused to release them until yesterday. Mr Furbert has said they show the union is in good financial shape and has promised the financial statement for 2009/10 will be filed soon to bring it up-to-date.

BIU president Chris Furbert

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Published November 15, 2011 at 8:57 am (Updated November 15, 2011 at 8:57 am)

BIU assets drop to $8.11m, statements reveal

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