[Documents menu] Documents menu

HEB, BIU clinch wage deal

By Cathy Stovell, GazetteNET News, Thursday 9 March 2000

Unionised hotel workers and their employers have amicably signed a full contract on wages for the first time in recent history.

The Hotel Employers of Bermuda and the Bermuda Industrial Union yesterday announced that they had successfully negotiated wage and gratuity increases for the remaining two years of their collective bargaining agreement.

The accomplishment is being heralded as a major feat since the parties for over a decade have been forced to binding arbitration to settle the negotiations.

In a joint Press release both Derrick Burgess, president of the BIU, and John Harvey, CEO of the HEB, confirmed that their organisations remained focused on the welfare of hotel employees and "the return to profitability of the hotels".

"To that end," the release read, "efforts will continue to be made to implement the `Success Sharing Programme' in Bermuda Hotels."

Delaey Robinson, head of Government's tourism board, was full of praise at the news in the House of Assembly last night.

Speaking on the motion to adjourn, Mr. Robinson pointed to the history of "strife and confrontation" between the two parties and noted their new co-operative moods. He also called for more hoteliers to join the HEB.

"I would encourage those hoteliers who are not members of the HEB to join," he said. "Now is the time to come on board. It is not the time to be at the door with sabres but is the time to join in."

Attributing some of the success in the smoother negotiations to the principle of gain sharing, where employees directly benefit from increased profits in their hotels Mr. Robinson contended that the new atmosphere would help impress on locals in the hotel industry a new sense of pride and recognition to improve service and productivity.

"Workers need to recognise that it is their duty to bring about increased service standards and productivity," he said.