BIU hits out over board appointments
Government board appointments made by the new One Bermuda Alliance administration came under fire from Bermuda Industrial Union president Chris Furbert yesterday.
He asserted that Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy appears to have shut the door on the open dialogue he pledged to have with the country’s trade unions.
Claiming the appointment of OBA chairman Thad Hollis and candidate Nicholas Kempe to the Permanent Arbitration Tribunal could be a conflict of interest, the union leader also took issue with the fact that the BIU was not included on the Immigration Board.
“The BIU, along with one of our sister unions, were represented on the Immigration Board in 2012,” said Mr Furbert.
“However, the Minister has decided that the BIU will not be represented in 2013, although our sister union still has representation on that board. So you need to ask the question is this personal against the BIU?”
As for the Permanent Arbitration Tribunal charged with resolving the ongoing docks dispute, Mr Furbert said the law requires the chairman and deputy chairman to hold office for a period of three years. Other members he said, based on law, “shall hold office for a period of two years, and be appointed from “time to time” for a like period.
At least three tribunal members, he said, “have not served out their term”.
Citing sections of the Labour Relations Act 1975, he said: “Under section 14 (2) which reads ‘Before exercising his powers under subsection (1) the Minister shall consult such trade unions or other organisations as appear to him to be representative of the views of the employers and workmen in Bermuda’.
Said Mr Furbert: “I can tell you the Bermuda Industrial Union was not consulted and I have spoken to one of our sister unions and I have been assured that they were not consulted either.
“So where is the open dialogue with the unions that the Minister promised would take place?
“Once again the BIU firmly believes that the Minister is in violation of the Labour Relations Act 1975, and I would have thought the Minister and the new Attorney General would know that.”
When asked for a response, the Minister said: “Having been advised of comments made by BIU President, I can confirm that I met with Mr Furbert today at the Hospitality Job Fair regarding his concerns and I will be meeting him in the very near future to continue our discussions.”
That meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday.
Said Mr Furbert: “I think we plan to send the Minister something in writing and hopefully at the meeting that we have next week on January 16 at 2pm we’ll discuss it.”