The Corporation of Hamilton's plan to have all employees' salaries, including about eight holdouts, deposited directly into their bank accounts, was the trigger for a dispute that saw about 70 workers walk off the job on Monday.

It was the second of two public relations disasters the Corporation has had to contend with in as many weeks - and one former corporation member told the Bermuda Sun that in the second case, the Corporation did not know when to leave well enough alone.

The former member, who did not want to be named, said the small group of employees have for years insisted on being paid by cheque long after the Corporation had switched to direct deposit salary payments for the other employees.

Another person familiar with the workings of the Corporation said the cheque-payment system meant workers lost time from work-because they would leave work in company time to stand in line at the bank to have their cheques cashed.

But the former member said the Corporation had long ago decided that forcing direct deposit on the reluctant employees just wasn't worth the effort.

Mr. Madeiros told The Royal Gazette earlier this week: "For almost the past year the Corporation has been preparing to pay all staff by direct credit into bank accounts.

"Staff have been advised to open an account but there were a number who hadn't got that organised by Friday, so it brought issues to a head.

"We paid these workers by cheque and we will speak to them and try to assist them in opening deposit accounts."

But the former Corporation member said: "This business about making people get a bank account is ludicrous. If they want to be paid by cheque what's the problem?"

The same issue has been coming up "for donkey's years, but sanity has prevailed."

The employees' work stoppage was brief and the Corporation has agreed to address a number of grievances, including the direct payment issue.

A labour consultant is being brought in to negotiate a settlement between the two sides.

Corporation workers are also planning a meeting on Monday, the Bermuda Sun has been told.