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‘They are wasting people’s time and making them pay for it’

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The Royal Gazette took to the streets to discover what residents thought about Bermuda Industrial Union workers and KFC (Bermuda) finally reaching an agreement over contracts.

The two parties battled until recently, when staff accepted the deal they’d rejected on the advice of union bosses more than a year ago.

KFC’s three-year collective bargaining agreement with its unionised staff expired in December 2011.

The fast food company then offered a new agreement with changed benefits for unionised staff which was rejected by the BIU.

Months later, with an agreement yet to be reached, the union refused to take part in continued negotiations and encouraged an Islandwide boycott of KFC.

Retired 84-year-old Kingsley Simons from Smith’s explained how he was personally affected by the dispute.

“It’s just a waste of time, they could have accepted it a year ago,” he said. “They are wasting people’s time and making them pay for it.

“On the first dispute, I went down to KFC get some chicken, and they were disputing what was going on and wanted me to boycott. I said, ‘Me?’ I’m not supposed to boycott anyone.

“I’ll go down and do what I want to. That’s one thing with the union, when one party disagrees, every party disagrees for no reason at all. I’ll give them credit for trying but it was a waste of time.”

St David’s resident Jalen Bailey, 17, agreed: “I’m not sure, but right now it seems like a waste of money and time.”

Devonshire resident Anthony Crichlow, 46, said: “If you look at it right now, it looks like a waste of money. But in retrospect, the process was needed in order for a conclusion to happen.”

Christian Stevens of Devonshire was visibly puzzled.

“If they had the exact same terms as last year, why would they agree to it? Why did they prolong it?”

He added: “A year? Sure, you want the union to work for you, which is a good thing, but for it to take this long? No, that could have been done in three months at the most. It shouldn’t take a year to go back to the same agreement.”

His friend Justin Simmons, of Warwick, agreed.

“I think it was a waste of time. It just wasn’t worth it.”

Social worker Samantha Braneh said: “If it really was the exact same result, then it was a waste of time. Well, it’s just people are so afraid of losing their jobs.”

Tanya Smith, of St George’s, said: “It’s better to have a job than not to. Sometimes the union wants to throw their so-called power around. It wasted a lot of time and money.”

A 30-year-old from Southampton said he wasn’t impressed with the BIU’s performance.

“It sounds like a waste of time and they didn’t get a good deal. I feel like it happens a lot, it’s not a surprise anymore,” he said.

Meanwhile, a 45-year-old male from Devonshire said: “It was a waste of time and money. Why waste taxpayers’ money?

“It should come out of their pocket, then they’d deal with it differently, and since it’s not coming out of the union’s pocket, they don’t worry about it.”

Christian Stevens and Justin Simmons
Kingsley Simons
Anthony Crichlow
Jalen Bailey

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Published July 06, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 07, 2013 at 11:20 pm)

‘They are wasting people’s time and making them pay for it’

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