Unionized workers were seen heading away from the Hamilton Princess on Tuesday morning, and BIU president Chris Furbert criticised recent redundancies at the hotel. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Unionized workers were seen heading away from the Hamilton Princess on Tuesday morning, and BIU president Chris Furbert criticised recent redundancies at the hotel. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
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3:20PM UPDATE: Minster of Home Affairs Michael Fahy today advised that he continues to monitor the current impasse between the Bermuda Industrial Union and the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.

As such the Minister advised that under Section 5 of the Labour Relations Act 1975, and in the interest of seeking a resolution, he referred the dispute to a dispute panel on Saturday 1st February 2014, with each party being invited to appoint their assessors by 3rd February 2014 at 11:00am.

It is expected that since the matter has been referred, both parties should withdraw any action until the arbitration process has concluded.

Today Minister Fahy said, “These are very unfortunate circumstances. However I am renewing my call to both groups and asking them to ensure that business operates as normal as possible until this matter has been satisfactorily resolved. It remains my sincere hope that the parties can rectify this matter for the benefit of all involved.”



Unionized workers were seen heading away from the Fairmont Hamilton Princess after a meeting on Tuesday morning, and at a later press conference BIU president Chris Furbert said he is “irritated” that three young bar porters were made redundant by the hotel.

In addition, he said it was “inexcusable” of hotel management not to have consultation with the union before making 10 workers redundant on Friday, five of them BIU members.

The workers were given four weeks pay in lieu of notice.

Mr Furbert said that, as of Wednesday, bartenders would stop doing the jobs of the redundant bar porters.

The BIU held a press conference on Tuesday to outline their position. 

Mr Furbert said he would like for the Fairmont Hamilton "to respect what’s in this collective bargaining agreement

“We had not sat down and had any dialogue about redundancies or layoffs. I was a bit perturbed, to say the least.”

Mr Furbert said the union had a meeting with the Hamilton Princess management and wanted to know who was going to do the work of the staff that was being made redundant.

He sad: “That job has still got to be performed by someone.”

Mr Furbert said it is expected that the bartenders will pick up the slack for the redundant bar porters by doing their jobs.

He said: “This decision has been made without any consultation whatsoever of the bartenders. How do you do this sort of thing in 2014? You want some people to pick up some additional responsibilities and not even have a conversation with them as to what needs to happen.”

The Fairmont Hamilton is the only hotel in Bermuda that still has bar porters and Mr Furbert said that they learn how to be bartenders from that position.

“Most of the people who are bartenders now, where at one time bar porters… if we’re not allowing bar porters to work any more, where are we going to get our future bartenders from?”

The sacked workers were given documents to sign by the Fairmont Hamilton, but Mr Furbert took a stance and said: “On instructions from the BIU, nobody’s signed and no one’s going to sign.”

He said: “The Green’s (who own the Fairmont Hamilton Princess) have done a lot of good things for the hotel… but amidst all these positives we now have this negative thing that jumps out to everybody and it’s not very pleasant.”