*Photo by Don Burgess
*Photo by Don Burgess

Premier Craig Cannonier told a large gathering of union workers this morning the BIU motto of "United we stand, divided we fall" has never been so true for Bermuda as it is today.

The Premier said it was through collaboration that the unions and government came together for the betterment of Bermuda in forming a new labour agreement quickly.

He said: "After hearing Pastor Nicholas Tweed at the BIU Banquet and at St. Paul’s yesterday, there is a theme residing and ideas are still percolating – it is the idea of collaboration, the thought that we must be seeking allies out of enemies, friends out of adversaries. 

"The time of conflict has passed and this must be the age of collaboration."

Premier Cannonier's speech:

Good morning Bermuda.  As your Premier, I am honoured to be here today to spend this day with you, the hard working men and women of Bermuda – Happy Labour Day!

I’d like to acknowledge the President of the Bermuda Industrial Union: Mr. Chris Furbert,  General Secretary: Ms. Molly Burgess, the  Minister of Home Affairs: Senator Michael Fahy,  Ministers of the Government, Opposition Leader, Parliamentarians, Labour Leaders, Bermuda’s workers, family, friends, ladies and gentlemen…

As we celebrate this Labour Day, we have been reminded that it’s been 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s , “I have a Dream “ speech.  If you press the time even further, you will know that there was Jesus, another great orator, who taught us “I am my brother’s keeper”.

After hearing Pastor Nicholas Tweed at the BIU Banquet and at St. Paul’s yesterday, there is a theme residing and ideas are still percolating – it is the idea of collaboration, the thought that we must be seeking allies out of enemies, friends out of adversaries. 

The time of conflict has passed and this must be the age of collaboration.

Now that there is little money - we must start thinking.  Now that the middle class has become the new poor, we must embrace a collective effort to collaborate.  For we battle on the grounds of a global economy and must embrace the B.I.U. motto –‘United We Stand – Divided We Fall’.

We know it’s possible.  We have a proud history of the labour movement in Bermuda…..of people of diverse backgrounds finding solutions.  It happened in June, when all of the Unions and Government representatives met for the Collective Bargaining Agreement, 2013; each brining their own agenda, but in less than one month of collective talks, produced a workable solution for Bermuda and Bermudians.

 And that’s why I applaud the Unions for seeking a Tripartite Assembly of the private and public sector along with the Unions, coming together- seeking empowerment. 

They are to be commended. They demonstrated a willingness to lead.

This is the way forward.

In closing, I’m reminded of the song we sang in church yesterday, celebrating the BIU: ‘I pray for you, you pray for me…..I need you to survive’.

May God bless you--May God Bless Bermuda – Happy Labour Day!