Furbert calls on bank workers to join a union

  • Protection against employers: BIU president Chris Furbert at a press conference yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Workers need union protection, a labour leader said yesterday.

Chris Furbert, head of the Bermuda Industrial Union, said the Butterfield Bank decision to shed staff and close the Rosebank branch underlined the case for trade union representation.

Mr Furbert said: “I encourage all workers to get organised — I’m not saying they should join the BIU. There are other unions you should join that would give you some protection.”

He told workers: “Become organised. That will hopefully give you protection against employers that are going to behave like the Bank of Butterfield.”

He was speaking after the bank announced last Wednesday it had made 11 staff across two departments redundant and that 30 staff had opted for early retirement.

Mr Furbert said: “I’m not sure where Butterfield has any kind of compassion.”

He added that workers were not given “reasonable notice”.

Mr Furbert said: “That has to be a cold feeling. I don’t envy the position those workers found themselves in. Bear in mind, in 2009 the Progressive Labour Party government gave Butterfield Bank a $200 million guarantee.”

The Government bailed out the bank with a guaranteed preference share issue in the wake of the 2008 financial crash.