Council of Ministers and Union members meet to discuss alternative measures to meet conditions for personnel deductions

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Philipsburg, Sint Maarten — On July 26, the Honorable Ministers of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs; Justice, Anna Richardson; Finance, Ardwell Irion; TEATT, Ludmila de Weever; and Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, drs. Rodolphe Samuel; met with the Committee for Civil Servants Unions (CCSU) members; WICSU-PSU, WITU, ABVO with representatives of NAPB to continue the discussion on the 12.5% cost-cutting measures on the employment benefits. After calculations were finalized by the Ministry of Finance, the government paid out the 3% (50% vacation allowance) withheld since June 2020 during the first two weeks of July 2021.

During the meeting, Minister Irion presented two proposals from the government per article 112h of the LMA, this in keeping with the fact that the Constitutional Courts’ verdict is still outstanding. The first proposal represented a package to cover the 3% (50% vacation allowance) already paid out.

Parties agreed that the 3% vacation allowance 2019-2020, paid out to government workers based on June 29, 2021, will be compensated by;

  • A reduction in the vacation days (2019-2020: by 2.8%)
  • The elimination of payment of overtime across the board except for the Ministry of Justice (0.2%)

The second proposal regarded the payment of the 2020-2021 vacation allowance, owed.

Though liquidity remains a challenge, and the Government intends to pay out the balance of the 6% owed for 2021, parties agreed that Government would look into the possibility to consider the benefits mentioned in article 112h of the LMA, as personnel-related benefits. In so doing, some of the “benefits” such as travel expenditures, uniform allowances, and the compensation for the usage of personal vehicles to execute work-related services, could be accepted by CFT as personnel-related benefits, and be cut accordingly.

Prime Minister Jacobs stated, “These quarterly meetings will continue together with the Council of Minister and the CCSU members in the interest of our civil servants. We will also meet again with the union members once the Constitutional Court renders its decision on the petition of the Ombudsman regarding the 12.5% cost-cutting national ordinances.”

Discussions on the issuance of the 6% vacation allowance owed will resume once Government has information to share with the CCSU membership.