Elshot: Unions to follow up on request for COLA workgroup

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PHILIPSBURG–The various unions in St. Maarten still want a workgroup formed to work out the payment of the outstanding cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for civil servants and teachers.
Windward Islands Chamber of Labour Union (WICLU) President Claire Elshot told The Daily Herald on Tuesday that while the unions had not formally heard from Government on their joint letter to Prime Minister William Marlin requesting the formation of a workgroup for this purpose, she had heard unofficially that steps were being taken to have a workgroup formed.

The unions’ request is for COLA for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 to be addressed. Elshot said the letter to Marlin had been sent just before school closed at the end of the 2015-2016 academic year. The request was sent via the advisory body for issues affecting civil servants GOA.
“I did hear that an advice was prepared, but nothing was officially received asking us for representation for the workgroup,” Elshot said in a telephone interview. “We [unions – Ed.] are in a workgroup for pension reform, but not for the COLA as yet, and this is quite depressing. We have to follow up on this matter. … We have been able to take cuts in some areas, but they can’t continue to neglect and bury their head in sand on the issue of the COLA, because it is very important.”
The joint letter sent to Marlin earlier this year was signed by the Presidents of Windward Islands Civil Servants Union/Private Sector Union (WICSU/PSU), Windward Islands Teachers Union (WITU), ABVO St. Maarten union and the St. Maarten police union Nationale Algemene Politie Bond (NAPB).
The unions want a workgroup installed with representatives of the Finance Department to come up with an advice on the way forward for COLA and its payments. Elshot had told this newspaper earlier that it was time for parties to sit and address this issue.

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Source: Daily Herald
Elshot: Unions to follow up on request for COLA workgroup

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