PHILIPSBURG — The Members of the CCSU in a statement issued Monday, January 27, 2020, made it clear that they are not in agreement with the draft Pension Reform Legislation for civil servants and announce that no consensus was reached between the CCSU and Government as to the way forward after the draft Pension Reform legislation was sent back to the Central Committee of Parliament. The Members have made this known to Government and to all three Ministers of General Affairs that have held the office in the last six months.
In 2016, outside the body GOA/CCSU, the unions, the representatives of the Government and APS jointly signed a covenant, that expressed parties’ intention to jointly work on a new Pension Legislation for civil servants. This was done under the assumption that the APS fund would no longer be sustainable if reforms to the legislation were not implemented.
Late 2018, under assurances from Government that all agreements established in the workgroup had been incorporated in the draft legislation, the Members of the CCSU signed a letter approving the draft Pension Reform Legislation. Despite the Members of the CCSU not having reviewed the contents of the draft legislation because Members were constantly discouraged to initiate a review as it would be too technical for the Members to understand.
It is only during the Central Committee meetings in Parliament that the Members of the CCSU and by extension their union members discovered that the draft legislation being presented did not properly incorporate their concerns and that by implementation other critical issues arose for which no remedy was provided for.
In the Public Meeting of May 23, 2019, Parliament instructed the then Minister of General Affairs to go back to the platform of the CCSU and seek consensus as to a new way forward based on the concerns of both the unions and Parliament. As a result, a Consultation meeting was held on July 5, 2019, between representatives of the Minister of General Affairs and the Members of the CCSU. Unfortunately, no consensus could be reached as to how to proceed.
A report of the Consultation meeting and a proposed way forward was submitted by the CCSU on Friday, August 30, 2019, and carbon copies of said documents were sent to the Secretary-General of General Affairs and the Head of the Department of Personnel. These documents were also sent to the Caretaker Minister of General Affairs. Since then, several requests for a response to the letter submitted on August 30, 2019, and or a meeting to discuss the matter, have been sent to the two former and current Minister of General affairs.
It is for this reason that the Members of the CCSU were taken aback by statements made in the media by APS about the position of the CCSU on this matter and also statements made on the floor of Parliament in the Public Meeting of Thursday, January 23, 2020. During this meeting, reference was made to a recap of the meeting that was not taken from the report of the Consultation meeting submitted by the CCSU. More importantly, the recap was not shared with the CCSU before the meeting and contained many inaccuracies.
The Members of the CCSU urge both the Government of Sint Maarten and APS to refrain from sharing any inaccurate information on the position of the CCSU to Parliament, civil servants or the general public. The Members remain firm in their resolve that they are not in agreement with current draft Pension Reform legislation based on the negative effects it would have on civil servants and their members when implemented and executed.