OUR HISTORY

The Bermuda Public Services Union - BPSU was established in 1952 as the Civil Service Association (CSA). The need for such an organization was advocated by Senior Civil Servants who were disgruntled with their terms and conditions of employment and galvanized to seek improvements. The Group met informally and one of their initial activities was to propose to Government their intention of assisting in upgrading the Professional Standards within the Civil Service. Their objectives were:

 

  • To secure the greatest measure of co-operation between the Government in its capacity as employer and the general body of Civil Servants in matters affecting the Civil Service.

  • To provide ways and means from the general principles governing conditions of service; that is its recruitment, tenure, hours of duty, conduct, promotion, remuneration and superannuation.

  • To enhance efficiency in the public service by bringing together the experience and different points of view of members of the service.

 

The Executive Council of Bermuda had some reservations about the viability of seeing the CSA as a Professional Association because the first trade union law had been enacted in Bermuda in 1945 and Government feared what might happen within the Civil Service. It was not the intent of the CSA to become a trade union, but once registered, came under the Trade Union and Disputes Act, 1946. The founders were asked to appear before the Executive Council and had to convince them that their motives were in the best interest of the country.

 

The first office and place of business was at the residence of the first President, Bro. Ralph L. Gauntlett, Sr., "Rosebank", Paget East.

 

Very little is known about the position of the CSA between 1953 and 1961. In fact trade union activity came to a standstill after the death of the father of Trade Unionism in Bermuda, Dr. E.F. Gordon in 1955.

The objectives of the Civil Service Association (CSA):

 

  • To secure the greatest measure of co-operation between the Government in its capacity as employer and the general body of Civil Servants in matters affecting the Civil Service.

 

  • To provide ways and means from the general principles governing conditions of service, that is its recruitment, tenure, hours of duty, conduct, promotion, remuneration and superannuation.

 

  • To enhance efficiency in the public service by bringing together the experience and different points of view of members of the service.

"ONWARD AND UPWARD TOGETHER"

Under It was not until early 1961 that a group of Senior Civil Servants made strides to reactivate the Association. A Constitution was drafted with the assistance of a Senior Officer from the Colonial Secretariat Office, which resulted in the Constitution being adopted on 14 August 1961 and the election of a Council of twelve. The reactivation of the Association led to the name change of Bermuda Civil Services Association (BCSA), which, in 1966, was registered under the Trade Union Act, 1965.

 

On 15 January 1971 the BCSA became the Bermuda Public Services Association (BPSA). The change was to accommodate the admission of the Hospitals - King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and St. Brendan's as a Division of the Association.

 

Under the presidency of the first female President - Sis. A. Verbena Daniels, the first Civil Servants' strike took place from 3 - 15 November 1973. This strike was incited when Government disagreed with arbitration over a wage contract. The strike affected all areas, specifically the Post Office where more than 2,000 bags of mail stockpiled after the 12-day strike. A highlight of the strike was on 10 November 1973 when members picketed the opening of Parliament, and the Opposition - Progressive Labour Party (PLP) boycotted that opening.

 

On 20 November 1978, Dr. Simon Frazer retired from the BPSA as the Executive Officer and Bro. Eugene Blakeney was appointed the first General Secretary in January 1979. He brought with him a wealth of experience in unionism, having been an Executive with the Bermuda Industrial Union (BIU) for over 20 years. The Association made significant strides, both locally and internationally.  One of the things that Bro. Blakeney prided himself on was insisting that the Union needed a home of its own.  

 

During the presidency of Bro. John W. F. Payne, rapid progress in the Association took place and there was a turning point in trade unionism in Bermuda. The Island experienced a stalemate in 1981 when there was an island-wide strike by the BIU. Unions, including the BPSA, engaged in a one-day sympathy strike on 5 May 1981. Following the island-wide strike that crippled Bermuda, the BPSA summoned talks with other trade unions to form the Bermuda Trade Union Congress (BTUC), so that all unions could speak with one voice on critical issues affecting workers and civil society.

 

One of the greatest achievements overseen by President Payne was the purchase of the BPSU Headquarters building on the corner of Cedar Avenue and Angle Streets on 22 July 1981, which was officially opened on 15 March 1982 by the Secretary to Cabinet, Mr. W. James Williams.

 

The 1st Biennial Delegates' Conference of the Association was held on 19 March 1982. The Conference constitutionally replaced the Annual General Meeting and made provision for fair divisional representation from the membership and an assurance for an even exchange of information.

 

In 1983 BPSA took further strides by purchasing the plot of land (The Annex) adjacent to the Headquarters on the corner of Brunswick and Angle Streets on 23 September 1983.

Presidents of the Bermuda Public Services Union
  • 1952 - Ralph L. Gauntlett, Sr. OBE, Ed

  • 1953-1954 - Wor. Henry Martin Godet

  • 1954 - Donald James (DJ) Williams

  • 1955-1956 - Wor. L. M. Minty

  • 1956-1958 - George H. Wingate

  • 1961-1962 - Maj. N. H. Golding

  • 1962-1964 - Stanley Gascoigne

  • 1964-1965 - Wing. Commander Edward M. Ware

  • 1965-1966 - Dr. Idwal W. Hughes

  • 1966-1968 - E. Norman Shrubb

  • 1968-1980 - Donald H. "Don" Moore

  • 1970-1975 - A. Verbena Daniels

  • 1975-1978 - David H. W. Bell

  • 1978-1987 - John W. F. Payne

  • May - September 1987 - Quinton B. Stovell (Acting)

  • September 1987 - 1988 - Estlyn D. Harvey (Acting)

  • 1988-1990 - Edward G. Ball, Jr.

  • 1990-1994 - Stephen W. Emery

  • 1994 - 1998 - Leleath G. Bailey

  • 1998-2002 - Betty I. Christopher

  • 2002 - 2005 - Nigel D. Pemberton

  • 2005 - 2011 - Armell L. Thomas

  • 2011 – 2014 - Kevin S. Grant

  • 2014 - 2019 - Jason P. Hayward

  • 2019 - 2020 - Lloyquita Symonds

  • 2020 - Armell L. Thomas

The Union took pride in flying its own flag in 1986. The design was selected from entrants in a contest. The four stars on the flag depict the four Bargaining Units: -

 

* Government * Communications * Hospitals * Private Sector

 

  • In May 1990 Bro. Edward G. Ball, Jr relinquished the post of President to assume the newly created position of Assistant to the General Secretary.

 

  • The Women's Committee was founded in 1988 and held its first Forum in June 1989.

 

  • The BPSA adopted its motto "Onward and Upward Together" in July 1989.

 

  • In 1990 the BPSA Youth Wing emerged.

 

  • The first Biennial General Election for BPSA Executive Officers was held on 6 February 1994.  Sis. Leleath Bailey was the first President to be elected by this method.

  •  

  • In 1995 the BPSA Retirees Committee was established and Sis. Roslyn Burchell served as the first Chairperson.

 

  • In March 1996 the BPSA was successful in completing the payment of the mortgage on the Headquarters Building and held activities in September 1996 to celebrate the Mortgage Burning.

 

  • In November 1997 the Association saw the retirement of its first full-time General Secretary - Bro. Eugene A. Blakeney, after serving for some 20 years. Bro. Edward G. Ball, Jr was appointed as General Secretary of BPSA effective 30 November 1997.

 

  • The Secretariat - "The Engine Room" of the BPSA was restructured and changes emanating from the exercise were the appointment of two Assistant General Secretaries: Bro. Stephen W. Emery and Sis. Thelma J. Hart, effective 1 May 1998.

 

  • The first Annual Shop Stewards' Conference was held on 19 November 1998.

  • The Shop Stewards' Committee was formed on 3 February 1999, designed for Shop Stewards to meet and discuss issues, grievances and future activities on a monthly basis.

 

  • On 3 November 1999, President Betty Christopher was elected the first President of the BTUC.

 

  • On 28 January 2002 Senior Civil Servants met with the BPSA to discuss terms and conditions of employment, particularly since the introduction of the Civil Service Review.

 

  • On 7 February 2002 the Association held its 1st Triennial General Election, resulting in Bro. Nigel Pemberton as the President.

 

  • On 5 March 2002 the name of the BPSA was changed to the Bermuda Public Services Union (BPSU).

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COPYRIGHT © 2015 BPSU                                                     

Address: 2 Angle Street, 

Hamilton HM10, Bermuda

Tel: 441-292-6985 Fax: 441-292-1149

Email: info@bpsu.bm

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