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BPSU calls for a May 1 celebration of trade unionism

The Bermuda Public Services Union is calling on the public and its members to commemorate International Workers Day tomorrow, with a gathering on the City Hall steps at noon.

A release from the public sector union said it recognised those who were killed in the Haymarket Riots on May 4, 1886.

“The demonstrations held were to protest for an eight-hour work day. We benefit from that protest today yet the fight continues as many are trying to squash our gains,” the release states.

“The right to collectively bargain and fight for workers rights has come under threat and because of those who made the ultimate sacrifice it is imperative that we acknowledge this day so that the fight was not in vain.

“To bring this issue to a local perspective, May 1 is even more significant. It was in early May 1981 that trade unionism came to the forefront and changed the landscape of labour relations which allowed workers to enjoy some of the benefits that we take for granted today.

“Therefore, we are calling on you to join us in celebrating the efforts of those who fought hard both locally and internationally.”

The union also wants to send a message rejecting “drastic cuts” to the public sectors, “initiatives that discourage collaboration and meaningful dialogue” and “those who discourage the rights of workers to have collective bargaining agreements”.

The recently formed SAGE Commission has started working on its mandate to recommend ways of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the civil service. Government has included in its charge the possibility of privatising public services.

BPSU has also been battling Corporation of Hamilton bosses in a dispute over labour practices and trade union rights.

Haymarket Riots: A depiction of the clash between a fledgling labour movement and the authorities in Chicago on May 4, 1886.

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Published April 30, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 29, 2013 at 6:16 pm)

BPSU calls for a May 1 celebration of trade unionism

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