Today’s article of 721news and I quote:” Wilson: Jacobs and unions must stop lying to civil servants” warrants a reaction from me as President of the Windwards Islands Chamber of Labor Unions (WICLU), the umbrella organization representing eight (8) unions of organized workers on Sint Maarten in the public, semi-public and private sector.
The content of this article is written by ” a jack of all trade, but master of none”. The writer who is supposedly a civil servant, who received his vacation allowance on June 15th, just like all public sector workers, has decided after a month and three 3 days, to write an article filled with erroneous information.
Even though, it is understood that the writer queried the illegality on the payment of the vacation allowance, I am curious to know if Mr. Wilson after sounding his concern and discontent with the civil servants (which he is one) receiving their vacation allowance, returned his vacation allowance after it was paid to him. I challenge Mr. Wilson to present a deposit slip indicating that he returned the illegal vacation allowance in June dated June 16, 2022, that he received on June 15, 2022.
As a presumed journalist and aspiring political candidate on a Political Party slate, this is not a good example of what we are to expect God forbid you get elected. Your assumptions of the sequence of events are mind blowing. A responsible journalist /aspiring politician would first seek facts before assuming and making emotional statements.
It is very unfortunate that Mr. Wilson is making use of this social media platform that is also used to disburse news items, to give misinformation and create accusation against the unions without he ever contacting any of the presidents of the Civil Servants or teachers’ union to get the truth of the matter and to share objective information to our members and the public at large.
The task of a trade union represented by its President and board is to firstly seek social dialogue and bargain collectively on behalf of their members.
Mr. Wilson, your political campaign might have started but let me inform you it is with the wrong set of people.
As President of the Chamber of Labor Unions I would not permit your story to live a life of its own, with your efforts to accuse and smear the unions of activities contrary to their goals and objectives as unions.
All the unions involved have represented their members diligently in meetings with such as the CCSU; various committees, stakeholders, schoolboards and even in the meeting with State Secretary Van Huffelen with the COM during her last visit. No union agreed to the payment of 50% vacation allowance, this was a proposal that was made by the
Minister of Finance and was stated publicly by the Minister.
The objective of all the discussions was to get a final payment of 6% vacation allowance. However, since the payment of the employee benefit package formed part of
the ordinance #7 that entails the 12.5% cut, the possibility to have parts of the law retracted and that is what the Council of Ministers indicated and will be, if not already
presented to parliament for amendment.
This is the way the unions in solidarity conducted their meetings in order to reach a consensus or agreement.
The objective of the unions was to get relief for their members as vacation allowance is not a luxury to go on vacation, these funds have a multipurpose use and therefore can be seen as a supplementary budget forming part of relief for our members to prepare for hurricane season, new school year etc. a vacation allowance is just called that by name.
To show the fact that this story is based on non-objective or factual information, I would like to state that the WITU is still working on getting equal treatment for the teachers of the private subsidize schools, who haven’t received their vacation allowance payment as
yet, since this is entangled in an issue of budgetary cuts to the school boards on their subsidy of 12.5%.
In my opinion this topic would have made more sense for the author to try and investigate and write his story on. As this is discrimination and inequality in treatment and payment to teachers in the teaching fraternity. This would strongly show his solidarity for the teachers and his concern for what all subsidized school boards are facing which constitute to their non compliance with the payment of the vacation allowance, which government set a precedent by paying all civil servants (including public school teachers)
However, the author is not interested in writing the facts, but let me caution Mr. Wilson/ aspiring political candidate, that his political campaign against whomever is dead before arrival, as the unions are motivated to defend the rights of workers and stand in solidarity for them. Unions will not jump on his band wagon to defame anyone.
Respect the rights of the unions to defend the well-being of the workers.
Mrs. Claire Elshot-Aventurin
President of WICLU