Government committed to strengthening relationships with unions – Minister
Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour, said the Government was committed to strengthen relationships with the island’s unions in the face of an ongoing dispute over decertification.
Mr Hayward said in his Labour Day message: “Despite recent challenges, the Ministry of Labour’s commitment to working with all parties for peaceful relations is unwavering.
“We will continue engaging with workers and employers to promote harmonious industrial relations and working together for the good of Bermuda.
“The Government has simplified and reformed the dispute resolution procedure, strengthening industrial relations processes.”
The comments came after two days of protest by members of the Bermuda Industrial Union, with the union pledging weekly protests as the dispute over labour legislation rolls on.
Mr Hayward thanked workers for their contributions during a challenging year.
“We have endured much, and I thank you for your resilience,” he said. “Together we will continue to put in the work to restore our economy.
“Since my appointment as the Minister of Labour, I embraced the responsibility to lead Bermuda’s workforce out of the darkness that is the pandemic.
“This Government has, and always will, have your back. We will continue to work towards promoting opportunities for our people, respectable work, and industrial harmony.”
Mr Hayward said the changes to the Employment Act and Labour Relations Act which came into effect in June strengthened the benefits and protections offered to workers.
And he noted that he had recently tabled the Minimum Wage Report, drafted by the Wage Commission, as the Government moves towards the implementation of a living wage in Bermuda.
Mr Hayward also said that the Ministry launched a comprehensive reemployment strategy to help get Bermudians back to work, prevent future unemployment and connect the unemployed with job opportunities.
He said: “Since that time, the Department of Workforce Development has successfully serviced over 600 Bermudians with training, development, and employment services.
“Despite these challenging times, through the Department of Workforce Development, this Government remained committed to investing in our youth and supporting their education and development.”
Mr Hayward also said the Government had amended immigration policies to help create opportunities for Bermudians by expanding the number of closed job categories from 41 to 53
“Additionally, the Ministry puts greater scrutiny on work permit applications to ensure capable and qualified Bermudians are not passed over for job opportunities and can capitalise on available jobs,” he added.
Mr Hayward said there was much work to be done rebuilding Bermuda’s economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This Government is confident that Bermuda will overcome all adversity,” he added.
“I urge everyone to unite and stand strong together, determined to build a better Bermuda – where one’s work is respectable, industrial relations are harmonious and there is the opportunity for all Bermudians to prosper.”