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Burgess vows to smooth relations with bus operators and union

New Transport Minister Derrick Burgess yesterday pledged to appease bus drivers’ concerns over working conditions as he vowed to smooth relations with the union.

Speaking to Sherri Simmons on Magic 102.7, Mr Burgess said he’s also confident the long-running row over rosters can also be brought to an end.

“You have to get the relationship right,” the Deputy Premier told listeners.

“No side is perfect, so I feel that we will continue on with the job that Minister (Terry) Lister started and try to get a good standard for public transportation in Bermuda.”

Bus drivers went on a two-day strike in August after driver Jennifer Harvey was fired for failing to take a drugs test after an accident which injured a passenger.

Mr Lister, who was sacked this week by Premier Paula Cox, had also been in a long-running dispute with Bermuda Industrial Union over potential changes to the timetable.

Yesterday, Mr Burgess, a former BIU president, said relations can be improved if better equipment is bought for buses and security is stepped up, citing a recent example of a passenger urinating on the bus.

“The challenges that bus operators face today, I don’t think many people are aware of it,” he said. “You have got to make their job stress free. If we take care of those issues, things will improve.”

Mr Burgess also ruled himself out of a future bid to lead the Country.

Asked by Mrs Simmons whether he plans to become Premier one day, he replied: “No, no, no. I’m a bit too young for that.

“I will support Ms Paula Cox as long as she’s the Premier and, whoever comes next, I will support them.”

Asked whether he would put himself forward as a contender for Premier, he replied: “No. I have never even had that conversation with myself.”

Mr Burgess also spoke on the Global House lighting row;

The Royal Gazette has reported how he ignored the advice of technical officers and gave the go-ahead for LED lamps to be installed at Global House about two years ago.

Works and Engineering staff were last month called in to start to reverse Mr Burgess’ original decision by replacing the LED fixtures with fluorescent tube lights amid reports they breached health and safety regulations, as well as building and electrical codes.

Yesterday, Mr Burgess said the LED lights had been fitted as part of a cost-cutting move, saying that in a nine-month period they had saved $103,000 on Government’s electricity bill.

He said when they were fitted in 2009, the lights did not break any rules over light levels, but that a new law had since been passed meaning they had to be replaced.

New Transport Minister, Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess, nearest camera, alongside former Premier Dame Jennifer Smith and Public Works Minister Walter Roban.

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Published November 04, 2011 at 9:48 am (Updated November 04, 2011 at 9:48 am)

Burgess vows to smooth relations with bus operators and union

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