PHILIPSBURG–Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS) workers will soon receive their November salaries.
The Council of Ministers has approved funds for a financial injection for PSS to cover the November and December salaries of staffers, Prime Minister Rafael Boasman told reporters at the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday.
In the meantime, workers continued their action into a third day on Wednesday, sticking to their position that they will not resume work until they have received their salaries in their hands. One manager continued to work on her own accord to alleviate the crowd of persons who want to use the Money Gram transfer service at PSS.
Boasman said that the post office has been in a “bad situation” for many years. He said while efforts were being made to find a solution for the issues the facility faced, PSS had reached a stage where it had no funds to cover its November salaries. He said while the matter was a labour issue that had the initial attention of Labour Minister Emil Lee, nothing really could be done unless the acute financial crisis had been addressed.
Boasman had met with representatives of the St. Maarten Communications Union (SMCU), the PSS board and management on Monday on the concerns at PSS. The caretaker Prime Minister said it was not acceptable that workers cannot be paid. “I brought the matter to the Council of Ministers on Tuesday and the Council of Ministers approved to give an injection to pay the salaries of PSS workers for November and December,” Boasman said.
He indicated that while the union asked for payment for November salaries, December is just around the corner and he felt it fitting to include December as well. He stressed that realistic solutions have to be sought for the future of PSS. “PSS in its present form cannot survive. Post Offices all over the world are going belly up.”
A number of options have been on the table as it relates to the future of PSS. A senior staffer in the Ministry of General Affairs will leave for Curacao to further discuss one of those options for the postal services.
Boasman said he promised the Council of Ministers that he will not just give the PSS funds, but will also work towards a long term solution. He said while the current caretaker government has roughly two more weeks in office, it will work hard to see how they can resolve this matter.