Less workers for more pay

Trash collectors have been striking for over a week now for officially unknown reasons.  While the Bermuda Sun has suggested that it is due to collectors wanting more pay, noone can really say for certain what the cause is.

Personally I’ve grown quite annoyed with the Bermuda Industrial Union as of late.  Last month I was left stranded in Devils Hole for over an hour before someone kindly told me that the Buses were not running.  Upon calling up the transportation board I was informed of an "emergency meeting" that had been called.  I’m sorry, I don’t care what kind of pretty words you want to use, any meeting held during regular hours of service that disrupts that service is a strike.  Similar goes for trash collecting.  Refusal to collect the trash is a strike, not a work to rule as, unless I’m mistaken, collecting the trash falls within the boundaries of the job description of a trash collector.

It is rediculus that these sort of issues cannot be resolved through negotiation before taking planned strike action as opposed to these impromptu strikes where we’re not even told the reasoning behind them, which I think is absolutely absurd.  President of the Bermuda Industrial Union, Chris Furbert, should be glad that I no longer have a car as if I did I would have taken my trash and thrown it on his lawn days ago in my own form of protest.

So, as the Bermuda Sun suggests, is this recent strike action related to demands for higher pay?  Perhaps the workers do indeed deserve higher pay, especially considering government’s precident for increasing the pay of members of parliament and civil servants last summer, but at what cost? 

One question I’ve always wondered about is why we have 3 individuals manning each trash truck.  When I was away at school in London, Ontario, trash was collected every 6th weekday as a means to cut costs.  Beyond this, each trash truck was manned by a driver and one individual to collect the trash and throw it into the bin.  If 2 individuals could man trash trucks successfully in Canada, why is it that we have 3 per truck here?

Perhaps I’m just bitter for having watched my trash go uncollected for over a week, but in my eyes, I say increase pay to even more than the $26 an hour but make other cutbacks to compensate – such as 2 individuals per truck.

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PhilDenis PitcherJ StarlingA Meringue Recent comment authors
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A Meringue
A Meringue

I don’t know the rights and wrongs of this situation, but I do know there are always two sides to an argument. Suppose your boss had agreed to give you a pay rise, but kept putting it off, what would you do? Would you just keep on diligently working, hoping that your boss would keep his word eventually? How long would you wait? Or would you take some time off, just to make a point? If a third party (the public) was depending on you, and you weren’t around to make the deal, whose fault would that be?

J Starling

Hi Denis, I would have to echo A. Meringue above. Although the industrial actions in question (public transport disruption, the garbage piles, etc.) are certainly not agreeable, I think the onus lise more on management than the workers. As a worker I have found that the workers nine times out of ten will agree something to the effect ‘Okay, Bob from management says they agree that we’re underpaid, and they’re gonna fix it, but they say it’ll take some time, maybe a month.’ A month goes by and we get some other sort of excuse. Its very easy for management… Read more »

Denis Pitcher

J Starling,
Regarding the strike, see my later post in response to A. Meringue’s comments.
As for the PLP being a labour government, I’d had to say that is a surprising suggestion considering all of the recent labour strikes.
The party may have been founded on such principles but it does not appear that their actions represent the principles the party was founded on anymore.


Workers should have the right to strike. They should not have the right to strike without notice, whether the service they provide is essential or not. It’s selfish and shows a lack of consideration for the users of the service. It’s also counterproductive, as many members of the public will then blame the workers for the strike action rather than management. If the workers have given management, say, 2 weeks to come up with a deal, and they have failed, then I think more people may be sympathetic to their cause. Similarly, meetings during working hours should be permitted, however… Read more »