SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – “As consumers we usually complaint about the quality of the goods and services we get for very high prices here in our society! As consumers we have the right to redress,” the Sint Maarten Consumers Coalition (SMCC) said in a press release.
“In the case of the faulty glucose meters, diabetic consumers have been complaining with the company Medicosmetics, with SZV, with the Inspectorate of Health, even with the Ombudsman without any success. Consumer lawyer Cor Merx was requested to address the matter and based on his intervention SZV called yesterday to inform him that new strips have arrived which shall be tested in the coming weeks.
“When we analyze the service we get from the Kingdom government and from our local government with regards to the cost-cutting measures in the labor conditions of workers in the private and public sector we have to consume, as a condition for liquidity support from the Netherlands, as consumers of this “Kingdom governments service” and as consumers of the local governments service to implement these conditions”, the question is: where we can go to demand our right to redress? Whereas consumers of the non-compliance with our human rights we have to go for redress of the “violating human rights government’s services”?
“For instance, public and private sector workers are affected “regressively” in their acquired economic social and cultural rights, with the 20% cut for workers in the private sector and the 12.5% cut for workers in the (semi)public sector. This is contrary to art 2 and 3 of the ILO Equal Remuneration Convention C100 which stipulates that remuneration must be based on an objective job classification or evaluation. This is also in violation of art 2.1 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. Who can defend these rights?
“Inequality between remunerations of workers in the European part and the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands will be increased. The governor, the Dutch European police and customer officers in St Maarten, and the workers in the Netherlands did not get any “solidarity” cut in their remunerations to assist the poor and the needy affected by COVID 19 in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As a consequence household income in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom is further reduced, under the pretext of “solidarity” with those affected by COVID 19. This constitutes a violation of the right to an adequate standard of living in art 11 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights and is also an act of social and racial discrimination within the Kingdom, according to art 1 and 2 of the International Convention on Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination. Where to go for redress and to get a reversal of these measures?
“WICLU held informative meetings with the members of the affiliated unions based on the cost cutting measures government announced to get liquidity support from the Netherlands.
Manifestations were organized to protest the intentions and the decisions of the Council of Ministers to cut in labor conditions of workers in the private and in the public sector.
Still no consensus agreement has been reached between the Chamber of Labor Unions and the government!
“As Consumers Coalition we are looking forward to the response of the High Commissioner on Human Rights requested in the letter from the WICLU of July 1, 2020? Independent Expert of the United Nations Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky’s letter to the States on April 15, 2020 stated and explained, that “This COVID-19 pandemic must not be used as an excuse to cut salaries and benefits from the workers in general.” Will the High Commissioner ratify the position of the independent expert and suggest sanctions on the Kingdom government and the government of St Maarten?”