Minister Jansen-Webster Calls for Adherence to International Labor Standards

Minister of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor (VSA), Mrs. Veronica Jansen-Webster
Philipsburg – The Honorable Minister of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor (VSA), Mrs. Veronica Jansen-Webster, has issued a compelling call to action, urging all employers in St. Maarten to fully recognize and uphold the rights stipulated in the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 87.
Known as the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention, this critical international standard guarantees workers the right to form and join organizations of their choosing without fear of retaliation or punishment.
Convention 87 is a cornerstone of international labor law, ratified by numerous countries, including St. Maarten. It is designed to protect the fundamental rights of workers, ensuring that they can organize freely and advocate for their interests. In support of this, St. Maarten’s Penal Code was amended in 2015 to revoke articles prohibiting the right to strike, further aligning national law with international standards.
Minister Jansen-Webster emphasized the importance of respecting these principles and encouraged employers to engage in constructive dialogue with their employees. “Punishing workers for exercising their right to strike is unjust and violates the international standards that St. Maarten has committed to,” she stated. “While we understand the significant impact a strike can have on public health and safety, it is crucial to approach these situations with respect for legal and ethical labor practices.”
Key Points on the ILO’s Convention 87:
1. Freedom of Association:
   – Workers and employers, without distinction, have the right to establish and join organizations of their own choosing without previous authorization.
2. Protection Against Anti-Union Discrimination:
   – Workers shall be protected against acts of anti-union discrimination in respect of their employment, including the right to strike.
3. Organizational Activities:
   – Workers and employers’ organizations shall not be liable to be dissolved or suspended by administrative authority.
4. Right to Organize:
   – Public authorities shall refrain from any interference which would restrict this right or impede the lawful exercise thereof.

The Ministry of VSA is dedicated to facilitating and mediating discussions between workers and employers to find mutually beneficial resolutions. A peaceful and fair resolution serves the best interests of all parties involved. Minister Jansen-Webster remains steadfast in her commitment to promoting a fair, safe, and legally compliant work environment for all citizens of St. Maarten.