Barricade preventing access to Hôtel de la Collectivité. (Robert Luckock photo)
MARIGOT–President Daniel Gibbs issued union UNI.T-978 with a court summons on Monday in an attempt to have the blockades of public service departments and the blockade preventing access to Hôtel de la Collectivité on Victor Maurasse Street lifted.
The hearing was supposed to be held Tuesday but was postponed until Friday, August 6.
For six weeks now, the Collectivité’s public services have been paralysed by the strike led by the UNI.T-978 union. The blockades of almost all Collectivité areas deprive employees the freedom of access to their workplace and directly affect the population of St. Martin in a particularly tense economic, social and health context.
Gibbs reiterated with the support of his elected officials and technical teams, he has always been careful to give priority to dialogue, listening and consultation, despite the obstacles and demands that he said that exceed the prerogatives of unions, in particular ordering the departure of a territorial civil servant.
The request for blockades of public services as well as the blockade illegally obstructing access to the street leading to the Hôtel de la Collectivité was specifically made to be lifted on Monday, July 26, at 8:00 am but was never complied with by the union.
“The blockades have been maintained and our attempts to resume dialogue have all failed,” Gibbs admitted. “I therefore decided to resort to the law by means of an “hourly summary procedure”, on the basis of bailiff’s reports, aimed at the lifting of blockades that are creating a manifestly illicit disturbance.
“Indeed, if the right to strike is indeed a fundamental right of employees, it must be reconciled with the continuity of public service,” he insisted. “In addition, the stakes of this social movement are high for the Collectivité which is not in a position to prepare for the start of the new school year.”
Gibbs added that he learnt on Monday that a meeting had been held between the UNI.T978 and the UNSA union (UNSA had previously been critical of UNI.T-978’s attitude) and in the afternoon received a written proposal to resume social dialogue with the objective of “finding an agreement for a satisfactory way out of the social crisis “
“I welcomed this proposal with great interest and confirmed a meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, August 4, between the trade union representatives and a delegation of elected officials accompanied by technicians from the administration. I hope to see our exchanges refocused on union prerogatives and I am ready to find acceptable solutions that will allow a return to serenity for the good of all.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/gibbs-takes-legal-steps-to-remove-blockades