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No buses today as rosters row rumbles on

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All alone: One person waits at the Hamilton Bus Station today as the buses went on strike over winter rosters (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Buses will be off the roads today after a dispute between drivers and the Department of Public Transportation failed to be resolved over the weekend.

Chris Furbert, the president of the Bermuda Industrial Union, confirmed last night that strike action would go ahead.

Mr Furbert said: “The matter has not been resolved, so therefore the industrial action planned by the bus division will go ahead.”

Mr Furbert declined to comment further.

Lawrence Scott, the Minister of Transport, and Jason Hayward, the Minister of Labour, did not respond to requests for comment yesterday.

But a Government spokeswoman said last night the industrial action would go ahead.

She added: “The DPT is recommending passengers use alternative transportation tomorrow.

“The department appreciates the public patience and will provide regular updates.”

The industrial action came after DPT staff said they would “stand down the service” from today after a meeting last Friday.

A spokeswoman for the union added on Saturday the bus division had voted to withdraw its labour unless the Department of Public Transportation posted the winter rosters.

The BIU spokeswoman said: “There is a collective bargaining agreement between the Bermuda Government that also affects public transportation.

“However, the Minister of Transport and the management team of the DPT have decided that they are going to completely ignore the sections of the CBA without the agreement of the bus division.

One Bermuda Alliance statement on the bus strike

Jarion Richardson, the Shadow Minister of Labour, issued this statement today.

Labour actions during the reign of this labour government are becoming far too frequent. How can the political arm of the labour movement be so out of touch with labour? Equally, how can labour have so many problems that strikes are frequent?

This labour dispute has something to do with winter bus schedules not being published. Have they been drafted? If they haven’t, tell us what the problem is.

Yet again, going about our lives is being ransomed while our jobs are put at risk. It’s as if own-goals is the strategy.

Someone, whether it’s the government or labour, needs to get a grip on our labour relations.

Either that, or the public will finally decide that it’s better to get reliable service through privatization rather a protected labour force.

And that slippery slope will have long lasting changes to Bermuda from which there is little chance of going back.

“The members put forward a motion ‘that management must post the winter rosters for pick on Monday, August 16, 2021 and failing to do so will result in the membership to stand down the service until such time that they do so’.”

A lone van is parked at the Bus Terminal today as bus drivers went on strike. (Photo by Blaire Simmons)

She added: “The bus division of the BIU would like to apologise in advance to the public for any inconvenience that this may cause.”

Transport workers have had a series of run-ins with Government in recent times.

Scores of bus routes were cut in June after unionised staff introduced a work-to-rule policy.

The move was launched during the BIU’s feud with Government over proposed legislation on union decertification votes in the workplace.

An earlier dispute between drivers and the DPT over Covid-19 safety rules on bus services went to arbitration after two days of industrial action.

The service has also been hit by an ageing fleet plagued with breakdowns and delays to repairs because of overstretched maintenance crews.

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Published August 16, 2021 at 12:27 pm (Updated August 16, 2021 at 12:27 pm)

No buses today as rosters row rumbles on

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